Over 4,100 students vaccinated after only two days of vaccine clinic
THE SANTA CLARA
February 5, 2016
Close to one-half of the Santa Clara student population braved lines larger than those before the Dalai Lama’s on-campus speech to roll up their sleeves and receive protection from meningitis.
Over 4,100 students total were vaccinated against meningitis during two university-sponsored vaccination clinics, which were held in the Leavey Center on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 from morning till evening.
Approximately 1,500 students received the vaccine on the first day of the clinic, and 2,665 came out to get their shot on the second day, according to Deepa Arora, communications director of Santa Clara’s Office of Marketing and Communications.
Wait times were an upwards of three hours, and lines stretched as far as the Harrington Learning Commons well before the clinic opened its doors at 10 a.m.
The incredible demand for the vaccines came after three first year male students fell ill with invasive meningococcal disease on Sunday, Jan. 31. One student is confirmed to have meningitis, an infection of the protective membrane covering the brain and spinal cord, while another student is ill with meningococcemia, a bloodstream infection.
Two of the students were discharged on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5, while one of the students remains hospitalized, according to a university press release.
“I ask for your continued prayers for the well-being of those students affected by the meningococcal infection,” a Feb. 5 university press release stated. “I thank you for your patience and support for each other as we work aggressively with the Public Health Department to combat the spread of this disease.”
On the first day of the clinic, the vaccination was so coveted that some students arriving after 7 p.m. were sent away because there was still an hour’s worth of students that needed the shot. The clinic was kept open for nearly two hours past the 8:00 p.m. closing time, according to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department press release.
“While the wait time may have been challenging, receiving the vaccine is critical as a preventive measure,” a Feb. 5 university press release stated.
Students who were turned away on the first day of the clinic were given Bucky FastPasses to bypass today’s lines, like the passes Disneyland provides for park visitors to cut to the front of lines for popular attractions like the Indiana Jones Adventure ride, but for free.
Despite the weighty nature of the meningitis outbreak, the environment both inside and outside the clinic was lighthearted. Campus safety officers on golf carts passed out water bottles to the colossal lines of students waiting for their shots and volunteers doled out pizza and muffins. Students snapped silly shots with picture frames that read “Buck Up” and “I Got the Shot” while holding Bucky the Bronco stuffed animals and plastic sunflowers and wearing feather boas and pink crowns.
To ensure that every student could be vaccinated, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department doubled the number of vaccinators on the second day of the clinic, according to a Feb. 5 press release from the health department. As a result, approximately 375 vaccines per hour were administered on the second day, according to a university press release.
Students received the Bexsero® vaccination, which was FDA approved in 2015 and is administered to people aged 10 through 25. It protects against the type of meningococcal bacteria that sickened the three first years—the serogroup B strain.
Bexsero® is only effective if administered twice, so the university will plan another vaccine clinic a month from now so students can come back for a second round of shots to be fully protected.
For those that didn’t have the time to stand in the mammoth lines, students can get their shot at two more university-sponsored vaccine clinics.
The first clinic will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6 in Kennedy Commons and the second will run from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8 in the Locatelli Student Activity Center.
Contact Sophie Mattson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4894. Follow her on Twitter @MattsonSophie.