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Meningitis B vaccine soon available for some young people in Nova Scotia

By Caitlin Snow May 25, 2023 | 3:14 PM

Meningitis B vaccines will soon be available for young people in the province.

The high-risk vaccine policy now includes Nova Scotia youth aged 25 and under who are:
— entering post-secondary studies and will be in a congregate living setting (such as a dormitory or other residence) operated by a post-secondary institution for the first time
— first-time military recruits who will be living in a congregate setting such as a military barrack.

“Invasive meningococcal disease is very rare and not spread easily, but it can be life-threatening. There are certain factors that put people at increased risk of infection, such as youth living in a large group setting for the first time,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “Adding these specific groups to our existing high-risk policy is an important step in supporting such individuals to reduce their risk.”

The bacteria that can cause invasive meningococcal disease are spread through direct contact with the saliva or spit of an infected person. Some examples are:
— kissing or close physical contact
— sharing utensils, drinking glasses, water bottles, toothbrushes or lipstick
— sharing vapes and cigarettes.

Quick Facts:
— a youth-based congregate living setting is defined as an institutional residence/dormitory with 13 or more adolescents or young adults (most or all of whom are not related) who use shared spaces such as common sleeping areas, bathrooms and kitchens
— people who are not eligible for the publicly funded meningococcal B vaccine can consider paying for this vaccine after talking to a healthcare provider
— children may receive meningococcal C vaccine at 12 months of age and a quadrivalent vaccine (meningococcal A C W Y) is offered in Grade 7

Full protection from the disease requires two doses of the vaccine, with the second administered at least four weeks after the first.

Vaccines will be given at pharmacies, with appointments available to book starting Monday, May 29.


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