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Meningitis B

What is meningococcal disease, and why are students at a higher risk?

  • Meningococcal Meningitis (or Meningitis B) is an infection spread by direct contact with secretions from the nose and mouth of an infected person. The infection can be in the blood (meningococcemia) or in the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).
  • Unlike COVID-19, Meningitis B does not spread through the air or casual contact. The bacteria that can cause bacterial meningitis are spread by direct secretions (saliva or spit) from the nose and mouth, through activities such as kissing, sharing food, drinks, water bottles, toothbrushes, eating utensils, cigarettes and other smoking products/devices.
  • While anyone can get bacterial meningitis, younger populations and students are often more susceptible due to communal living arrangements like residence and shared housing, and behaviours and activities that result in the sharing of personal items.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent meningococcal disease.

  • Meningitis B immunizations are not usually funded in most provinces or countries, including Nova Scotia, meaning it is not included in your routine childhood vaccine series. 
  • While the Meningitis B vaccine cost is not covered by provincial insurance in Nova Scotia, Dalhousie students can typically get 50%-80% coverage based on their health insurance plans. 
  • Two doses of the vaccination are required, approximately 4 weeks apart. 

How to get the Men B vaccine as a Dalhousie/King's student:

In Halifax:

  1. Call Dalhousie Student Health & Wellness at 902-494-2171 and state that you’d like to receive the Men B vaccine.
  2. For students with the DSU Health & Dental Plan, the Student Health & Wellness Centre will send a prescription to Direct 2 U Pharmacy (Nova Pharmacy) on your behalf.
  3. The pharmacy will call you to arrange for your co-pay amount ($24.45 per dose/total $48.90 for you to pay via credit card over the phone or in-person at Nova Pharmacy). The DSU Health & Dental  insurance covers the remaining cost (80% coverage) and that is billed directly to your insurance. 
  4. The pharmacy will send the vaccine to the Student Health & Wellness Centre, and an appointment will be booked with you for a nurse to administer each dose.
  5. When the vaccine is delivered, the Student Health & Wellness Centre will contact you to come in for your vaccination.

If students have private health coverage or would like to receive the vaccine at another pharmacy or other location:

  1. Instead of using Direct 2 U, Student Health & Wellness can send the prescription on the student’s behalf to the pharmacy of their choice, for personal pick up.
  2. If administering on campus, the doses can be brought to the vaccination appointment on the day-of, or stored at Student Health & Wellness in advance of the appointment.
  3. Nurses can administer these doses at the Student Health & Wellness with no injection fee, or a pharmacy can administer the dose with an injection fee (varies by pharmacy).
  4. Students will pay $66.45 per dose out of pocket (total $132.90), the DSU Health & Dental Plan covers the remaining cost (50% coverage). Students who have opted out of the DSU Health & Dental Plan will need to contact their insurance provider for coverage information.
  5. Students can opt to get vaccinated at their pharmacy or they can book with a nurse at Student Health & Wellness.

In Truro:

  1. Call 902-893-6300 or email to make an appointment with Health Services
  2. A nurse will complete an assessment, have a conversation to answer any questions you may have, and will quickly walk you through the next steps to obtain the vaccine based on your insurance coverage (DSU or home private health insurance).