Oregon State University will require all Corvallis students age 25 and under to be vaccinated for meningococcal B disease by Feb. 15, 2018.
This new requirement results from yet another case this week of an undergraduate student with presumed meningococcal B disease. This is the sixth case of meningococcal disease involving an OSU student over the past year.
We urge you to complete the required series of vaccinations for meningococcal B disease during winter break if you have not already done so. The meningococcal B vaccine requires at least two doses to be effective.
While meningococcal disease is uncommon, it is a serious disease. In 10 to 15 percent of all cases, death may result, as was the case with a University of Oregon student in February 2015. In 20 percent of cases, hearing loss, mental impairment and limb loss can result.
Those at risk include all students age 25 and younger. Students living in residence halls and in private cooperative group living units, or are members of - or visit - fraternal living groups associated with the university are at the highest risk.
While on break, students can be vaccinated at OSU Student Health Services (SHS) and the Student Health Pharmacy in Plageman Hall, 108 S.W. Memorial Place. These services are open from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. over the winter break with limited service availability. Many other pharmacies and local healthcare providers have the meningococcal B vaccine available on request.
Before seeking to be vaccinated, you are encouraged to contact your private insurance provider to verify insurance coverage for the vaccine. When speaking with an insurance representative, it is important to mention that OSU Corvallis campus has been designated an “outbreak” status by federal, state and county public health officials. Students without insurance have options, including the Oregon Health Plan (541-766-2130), low-cost payment plans through the Benton County Health Department (541-766-6812), or if 18 years of age or younger, through Student Health Services.
Recently enacted legislation requires Oregon’s private insurers to cover the cost of vaccines deemed necessary during an outbreak. You can find a summary of this policy under the Updates section of the Oregon Health Authority’s Meningococcal Information for College Communities web page. If you have challenges with obtaining coverage through your insurer, connect with patient advocates at 1-888-877-4894 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Regardless of your insurance status, it is essential that you immediately take the time to be vaccinated if you have not already done so.
During this outbreak, health officials encourage everyone to monitor their own health and note the following symptoms specific to this disease: high fever, a rash, headache, stiff neck, exhaustion, nausea or vomiting. If these symptoms develop, seek prompt medical evaluation. Be sure to mention your attendance at OSU and that there is currently an outbreak on the Corvallis campus.
More information on meningococcal disease is available by calling the OSU Student Health Services Nurse Advice line at 541-737-2724 or Benton County Health Department communicable disease nurses at 541-766-6835 or by visiting these websites:
Thank you for your ongoing attention to your health and ensuring that you have been fully vaccinated against meningococcal B disease.
Interim Vice Provost