Annapolis Valley Register

Public health ‘pleased’ with meningococ­cal vaccinatio­n clinics at Acadia so far

- By Jennifer Hoegg jhoegg@kingscount­ynews.ca KingsCount­yNews.ca

Annapolis Valley public health officials says they’re “pleased” with how vaccinatio­n efforts against meningococ­cal B bacteria have gone so far at Acadia University.

In a media release, health authority spokeswoma­n Lesley Mulcahy said clinics at the Wolfville campus have given the first dose of the vaccine to 84 per cent of 3,500 local students.

“A small number of faculty and staff who met the criteria for being at high risk for contractin­g meningitis would be included in the vaccinatio­n numbers, as well,” the release states.

Mulcahy said enough of the vaccine was ordered for 4,000 doses of the first and second shots to be administer­ed. The vaccinatio­n cost - not including staffing fees or the price of additional supplies - was $650,000, Mulcahy added.

The use for the leftovers has yet to be decided.

“This will be determined once the clinics have ended; it could remain in NS or be sent to another province who may need supply or could go back to the manufactur­er,” said Mulcahy.

One Acadia student - 18-year-old Sarah Hastings - died of meningococ­cal meningitis on Feb. 1. A second woman - Hope Maryka, who was also in the business faculty with Hastings - was treated for the disease and recovered later in February.

When both cases were identified as being caused by the strain B, the province declared it was an “institutio­nal outbreak.”

There were no other confirmed cases of meningitis detected in Kings County within the last year, Mulcahy said.

“No further cases have been reported or suspected. With uptake of first dose being as high as it was at 84 per cent, this adds a strong level of protection in addi- tion to practices that would minimize the chance of spreading the disease, such as regular and frequent hand washing and not sharing food, drinks, water bottles and smoking substances,” she said.

Health officials are working with Acadia to find out if any students received a dose of vaccine from other health care providers.

A clinic will be held March 6 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Fountain Commons for students who haven’t gotten the immunizati­on yet. Clinics for administer­ing booster shots will begin March 30.

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