AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – CVS pharmacies across western Massachusetts have stocked up on the meningitis vaccine in response to the outbreak at UMass Amherst.
There have been two confirmed cases of Meningitis B on UMass Amherst’s campus. According to a release sent to 22News by CVS health, the CDC has determined that the strains of the meningococcal bacteria that caused both student’s infections are closely related, meaning there may be an increased risk of the disease for other undergraduates on campus.
CVS pharmacist Dave Couture told 22News, they’ve always offered the meningitis vaccine, but it was only after the second student tested positive for meningitis, that they’ve now seen an increase in demand.
“Yes, it just didn’t have the demand that it’s having now,” Couture told 22News. “So, as a pharmacist we can immunize people with any vaccinations.”
Couture told 22News, the CVS has vaccinated more than 130 people.
University Health officials are encouraging students at high risk to get vaccinated. Students are considered at high risk if they live in campus housing, or have medical conditions such as asplenia, sickle cell anemia or take the medication Solaris.
According to CVS Health, all college students are required to receive a vaccine that protect against four other strains of the meningococcal disease (A, C, W, and Y), but that vaccine does not protect against B, which is the cause of the current infections at UMass Amherst.
The CVS pharmacy on University Drive told 22News they’ve vaccinated more than one hundred people since the outbreak. CVS pharmacies & MinuteClinics near UMASS Amherst are offering students another location for their vaccinations.
“It’s not painful now, but I’m sure I’ll be sore later, but I like it better than being sick,” said UMass Sophomore Paul Galvin.
UMASS declared a meningitis outbreak on campus this week. More than 1000 people were vaccinated in the first two days of the four day clinic UMass opened in the Student Union building Thursday. Bringing the total of students vaccinated to more than 2400.
“Everywhere you walked on campus all you heard was meningitis meningitis meningitis this,” UMass Sophomore Amanda Carlisle told 22News.
Meningitis affects the lining of the brain and spinal cord and can be deadly, if left untreated. Insurance covers the vaccinations.
“It’s so convenient,” Carlisle went on to say. “It’s right there and I think it’s really great that they are offering all these services for us, just to make us feel safe. Because it is really scary, especially when parents are back home, texting you and calling you and saying, ‘Go get the shot.'”
The vaccine requires two injections, 30 days apart.
There is a meningitis vaccine required for college attendance, but it doesn’t cover Serogroup B, the strain that infected the two UMass students.
The following CVS Pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic walk-in centers will have vaccines available to protect patients against the disease:
- 165 University Drive, Amherst, MA 01002 (MinuteClinic also available)
- 76 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01002
- 367 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035 (Located inside Target)
- 366 King Street, Northampton, MA 01060 (MinuteClinic also available)
- 90 Main Street, Northampton, MA 01060
- 70 West State Street, Granby, MA 01033
- Crystal Springs Plaza, 151 North Main Street, Belchertown, MA 01007
- Route 10, 118 Northampton Street, Easthampton, MA 01027
- 1616 Memorial Drive, Chicopee, MA 01020
- 400 Beech Street, Holyoke, MA 01040
- 1176 Granby Road, Chicopee, MA 01020
- 451 Center Street, Ludlow, MA 01056
- 250 Whiting Farms Road, Holyoke, MA 01040
- 50 Holyoke Street, Holyoke, MA 01040 (Located inside Target)
- 1990 Boston Road, Wilbraham, MA 01095
No appointment is necessary to receive a meningitis vaccination. Patients are asked to bring both their health insurance and prescription insurance cards to get vaccinated.