The cases of meningitis at the University of Massachusetts and Smith College have increased the awareness of the benefits of meningitis vaccine. Given the frequent and multiple social connections between and among students of the Five College Consortium, College Health Services is encouraging all students to receive vaccines for both meningitis serotypes.
There are vaccines licensed for prevention of different serotypes of meningitis. Meningitis vaccine for serotypes ACYW are Menactra, Menveo and previously Menomune. These are single dose vaccines. All students are required to either have one of these vaccines within the five years prior to arrival on campus or have the option to waive this requirement.
Meningitis vaccine for serotype B is strongly recommended for 10-25 years of age but is not required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is the serotype identified in the UMass cases and suspected but not yet confirmed in the recent case of the Smith student. Most students at MHC have not received this vaccine. There are two vaccines available, Trumenba three dose series and Bexsero a two dose series. Our records indicate that more than 110 students have completed one of these series and an additional 235 have received one dose of vaccine. There must be at least 28 days between dose one and dose two. We strongly encourage completion of the vaccine series.
Please log in to My Health Connection to review and confirm your immunization record for Menactra/Meveo/Menomune after 2013 and meningitis B; two doses of Bexsero or 3 doses of Trumenba. If you wish to receive additional vaccines:
Call 413-538-2242 or schedule a nursing appointment using the My Health Connection
Go to a local pharmacy and request the vaccines(s)
Fax to College Health Services documentation of the immunizations you receive. 413-538-2352
Important Insurance information:
If you are covered by the student health insurance plan, both vaccines will be covered at no cost to you.
Menactra/Menveo(serotype ACYW) is covered by most if not all insurance plans and can be administered at the Health Center.
Meningitis B vaccine is not covered by all insurance plans. Please confirm with your insurance plan if the meningitis B vaccine Besxero, will be covered when given at the Health Center or local pharmacy. It may be helpful to share that the Five College Community is considered an outbreak community. Please refer to diagnosis code Z20.811 and CPT code 90620 for Bexsero vaccine.
Out-of-pocket cost if not covered by insurance is $165-$200 per dose. If received at the Health Center this charge will be placed on your student bill or you will be billed directly by Community Pharmacy.
Meningitis is not easily spread like the common cold or flu. Because it is spread through close contact, avoid sharing drinks, water bottles, lip-balm, or smoking materials. Cover all coughs and sneezes, and wash your hands thoroughly. More information regarding meningitis can be found at
Students with immediate health concerns are advised to call Health Services at 413-538-2242. We will post updated information on our website.