College Students Worry about Classes and Meningitis

U.S. college students must now battle one more obstacle in addition to homework: meningitis.

Just last week, the Harvard Crimson warned its student readership about confirmed cases of meningococcal meningitis B at Yale and Providence College. The University of Oregon is planning a “full-scale vaccination program” in response to a recent student death from meningococcal infection.

Drug manufacturers have taken notice. Novartis has developed the meningitis B vaccine Bexsero. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration granted the vaccine a breakthrough-therapy designation.

Pfizer is testing its own meningitis B vaccine. The FDA also granted its vaccine — called Trumenba — accelerated approval. The company recently announced that it had met exceptions during a Phase 2 study.

Every vaccine has potential side effects. Usually these are mild — things like soreness or redness at the site of injection.

But occasionally, vaccines lead to severe side effects. For example, meningitis injections can sometimes lead to hives, a racing heart, respiratory issues, loss of consciousness, or Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

GBS is an auto-immune disease where the body’s immune system essentially attacks the nervous system. In most cases, the disease ascends from nerves in the legs and feet and progresses to nerves in the rest of the body, causing paralysis and diminishing reflexes along the way.

Unfortunately, doctors can easily miss the symptoms of GBS in young children. Because the condition affects motor function, it’s difficult to detect in infants whose motor skills are not yet fully developed.

In light of these and other vaccine side effects, the federal government established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in 1988. The VICP seeks to financially compensate those who suffer adverse reactions related to vaccines. Just last year, the VICP granted victims an average of $500,000.

To see an updated list of which vaccine injuries qualify for compensation, check out the vaccine injury compensation table on the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

As individuals consider whether to get a meningitis vaccine, they should remember that although rare, life-altering side effects may result. Fortunately, the VICP is here to help.


If you have suffered from a negative shot reaction, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, shoulder pain, or any other illness subsequent to receiving a vaccination, please contact an attorney today. Vaccine attorney Leah Durant of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is available to provide you with a free telephone consultation. This vaccine attorney is a seasoned litigator whose practice is dedicated to serving those injured by vaccines.


Categories: Guillain-Barre Syndrome (Flu GBS), Meningitis, National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program


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