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Meningococcal vaccine booster update

Dec 15, 2013

Hi Dr. Holodniy,

I wrote to you a few weeks back about getting a meningococcal vaccine booster for college. I am very very glad I took your advice and went thought with getting the booster because, as I am sure you have read, there has been a outbreak of a serious B strain of meningitis at a SoCal university that ended up costing a student his feet. I have not had any side effects except a slight headache a few days after receiving the booster, but that quickly subsided, and the doctor said this was not uncommon, so Im guessing I have had a pretty good response thus far. However, I will be attending that very university with the outbreak of meningitis this spring.

I read that the CDC urgently, and successfully, got access to the B strain vaccine (I think it is called Bexsero?) for a similar outbreak of meningitis at Princeton that was approved in Europe. A growing number of students at Princeton have taken the vaccine, but it is still not available for students at the SoCal university (I know many people probably knows what university this is). If we eventually get access to this vaccine, would you suggest that I additionally take this vaccine? Or might this be overkill and my meningococcal vaccine booster be enough? I believe I got the MCV4 vaccine, but I was unsure if this provided sufficient protection from this B strain. Would it be unusual or even not recommended to get a booster of one strain of meningitis, and then get a vaccine of a different strain?

And I thought you might get a kick out of this: as soon as my friends heard about this outbreak they started playing the Ghostbusters song and sang, "When there's a different strain, in your brand new school, who you gonna call? That doctor!"

Thanks in advance!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The MCV4 vaccine targets serogroups A, C, W-135 and Y of meningicoccus. It does not cover serogroup B, which is what occurred at Princeton. So, it you get access to it, yes I would recommend getting it.

Viral Load & CD4
Viral Load still detectable

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