OSU Holds Student Vaccination Clinics For Meningococcal B

Oregon State University is holding mass vaccination clinics at its Corvallis campus to deal with a Meningococcal disease outbreak.

The clinics are part of an attempt by the university to control the spread of the disease, which has so far infected six students since November.

"We believe our students’ public health is very, very essential," said Steve Clark, vice president of university relations and marketing for OSU.

The disease is a serious, potentially fatal infection that can cause meningitis or a serious blood infection.

The clock to get all OSU students vaccinated began ticking in December last year, when the university began requiring all students age 25 and under to get immunized.

According to its website, OSU already required incoming students to get Meningococcal B vaccinations before expanding the requirement to all students.

Students have until Feb. 15 to get two of the required vaccinations. Those who don't get vaccinated won't be able to register for classes in the spring or receive final grades for the winter term.

"We’re very definite about this," Clark said. "It is so important that they act now."

So far, approximately 60 percent of OSU's 25,000 students have gotten at least one of the two required vaccines. About 9,000 more have not gotten vaccinated at all.

There are medical and non-medical exemptions for students, as required by state law. If an exemption is requested, the university says it's requiring students meet with a medical care provider to understand the risk of the disease.

The vaccine costs $235 a dose, which Clark says is covered under the Oregon Health Plan and a health insurance plan students can purchase through the university.

"We're going to work with them to determine ways that they can, in fact, be vaccinated," he said.

The OSU MenB clinic runs through Jan. 13.

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