The recent meningitis outbreak at UMass Amherst is generating questions about the meningitis vaccine itself.
The shot required by most colleges and universities does not cover the "B" strain, the most commonly diagnosed on college campuses according to the CDC.
However, there are two different "B" vaccines available.
It can be confusing for college students and their parents.
We spoke to the associate director of health services at Western New England University in Springfield today.
She explained the difference between the two fairly new "B" vaccines and told us why WNEU is considering making one of them mandatory.
“So right now we actually do require that the first meningitis vaccine is given, which covers four strains of the bacteria. That's required within 5 years of freshmen coming in,” said Jennifer Brouillette.
Jennifer Brouillette is a nurse practitioner and associate director of health services at Western New England University.
She told Western Mass News, that because the majority of meningitis cases diagnosed on college campuses is from the "B" strain, the university is considering a bold move.
“Right now we are actually considering-- we've been talking about making the group B vaccine a requirement.”
In the meantime, Brouillette said that the staff here is recommending students take it upon themselves to get vaccinated.
Right now there are two meningitis B vaccines on the market.
“The Bexsero, which is given 4 weeks apart, and Trumemba, which is given 6 months apart.”
She said both do the same thing.
“The difference is the manufacturer. They both cover the same strain, so it’s just a matter of what the provider has available, which ones they decide to have on hand.”
Western New England is also encouraging all students to use common sense prevention.
“Be cautious about sharing utensils, water bottles, kissing, because that's how it’s spread through direct contact with other people.”
Western New England University is considering making the meningitis "B" vaccination mandatory, as early as the fall of 2018, making it one of the first schools to do so in Massachusetts.
Copyright 2017 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.