USF vaccinates students against meningitis

11/28/07 Seán Kinane
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Beginning in January, all University of South Florida students who are new residents of dormitories or Greek housing will be required to be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis.

The move is in response to the death in September of 19-year-old student Rachel Futterman. Today, USF vaccinated students in the ballroom of the Marshall Center. Two dozen students were lined up to get shots soon after the inoculations began at noon.

Dr. Egilda Terenzi, a director at USF’s Student Health Services, said they were prepared to give between 1,000 and 1,200 shots throughout the day.

Students under 19 were able to receive the vaccine for free through a Hillsborough County Health Department program. Those 19 and older had to pay $90 for the vaccine.

In 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an alert on the vaccine, called Menactra, because of reports of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, or GBS, among some people who got the vaccine.

Students were notified about GBS in a flyer. A freshman who lives on campus preferred to remain anonymous, is older than 19 so he had to pay to get the injection. He said he knew about the possible risks, including GBS, but he wasn’t concerned.

Beginning next fall, all students living on campus will be required to get inoculated. Terenzi said that USF is the first university in the state with such a requirement.

Nearly 100 students received the meningitis vaccine during the first hour.

Photo credit: Seán Kinane/WMNF

Photo caption: USF students wait in line to get vaccinated against bacterial meningitis.

Learn More:

Menactra information

Alert on Menactra Meningococcal Vaccine and Guillain Barre Syndrome

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