Emergency Guidelines for the Campus Community

E-Mail sent to graduate students

Tuesday, Dec. 3

Subject line: Meningitis B vaccine eligibility information

I am writing to provide additional information about the meningitis B vaccine clinics that will take place on campus beginning Monday, Dec. 9.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that vaccines be given only to all undergraduate students, graduate students living in undergraduate dormitories, the Graduate College and annexes, and members of the University community with specific medical conditions, including problems with their spleen (including sickle cell disease) or complement pathway (a specific type of immune deficiency)
Graduate students with the conditions listed above will be required to present documentation or a physician’s note at Student Health in McCosh Health Center before receiving the vaccine.

The CDC recommends these specific groups because young adults and people with certain medical conditions are at increased risk of getting meningococcal disease, especially those who live in close quarters, such as dormitories.

The bacteria that cause meningococcal disease require prolonged, close contact in order to spread. The bacteria are much harder to spread than the virus that causes the flu and cannot live outside of the body for very long. The bacteria are not spread by casual contact like being in the same room as someone who is sick or carrying the bacteria or handling items that they touched.

If you are interested in learning more about the vaccine or bacterial meningitis, please consider attending one of the following events where CDC experts and University representatives will be present:

  • GSG-sponsored meeting: 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, in McCosh 28
  • Faculty, staff and student open forum: 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, in McCosh 10
  • Faculty, staff and student open forum: 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 6, in McCosh 50

For other frequently asked questions about the University vaccine clinics, including specific questions for students, faculty, staff and community members, please visit: http://web.princeton.edu/sites/emergency/meningitis.html.

For frequently asked questions about the vaccine and bacterial meningitis, please visit the CDC's meningitis information website: http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/vaxQAs

You may also email the CDC at meningvaccine@cdc.gov, which is dedicated to answering questions about the vaccine.

The CDC and state health officials recommend that classes and activities at Princeton University continue as planned, and the surrounding community can continue to attend events on the campus. They do not recommend any travel restrictions for members of the University community. The bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been, and there is no evidence to suggest a risk of spreading the bacteria by touching surfaces. 

The best way to prevent the spread of meningitis is through personal behavior and increased hygienic practices. University community members should: cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; wash your hands frequently; and avoid sharing items that come in contact with your mouth, such as utensils, cups, water bottles and smoking materials.

The University will continue to provide reminders and additional information about the vaccine and precautions to help limit the spread of bacterial meningitis. 

Cynthia Cherrey
Vice President for Campus Life









Last update: 04-Dec-2013 12:10 PM
Web page comments or errors: Robin Izzo.