As you may know, the United States does not currently offer protection from meningococcal disease serogroup B. Serogroup B is responsible for the recent outbreaks at Princeton University and The University of California, Santa Barbara. Bexsero, a meningitis B vaccine, was approved in 2013 in Europe, Australia and Canada. The FDA allowed Bexsero on an “Investigational New Drug Application” in an effort to control the outbreaks at these two U.S. universities. I applaud their action, but what about the rest of the United States citizens?
A fellow mother and friend, Alicia Stillman from Michigan, who also lost her teenage daughter to meningococcal disease serogroup B, has started the Emily Stillman Foundation in loving memory of her 19-year-old daughter, Emily Stillman.
The Emily Stillman Foundation has organized the “Get Vaccinated Windsor Project” which will be taking place this Sunday May 18, 2014. A bus will transport 50 U.S. participants (children and adults) from Michigan to Ontario, Canada in order to be protected from Meningitis B. A Canadian doctor and his staff will administer the vaccine in Windsor after performing an exam and a full medical history on all participants.
For more information on the trip please see NBC's article.
While the two girls were fully immunized according to the current vaccine recommendations, many others are not up-to-date, with the other meningitis vaccines available. According to a recent study shared in the Wall Street Journal, "Two in three mothers are not aware of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations to prevent meningococcal meningitis infection, which include vaccinating children twice."
As National Meningitis Associations members, these mothers are committed to sharing their child's story so that other families have an opportunity to make informed decisions about immunization. They also want to help others gain a better understanding of the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and its potential consequences, in accordance with the NMA mission. NMA’s volunteers help carry out our mission by creating and conducting community awareness and education programs, including presentations, media outreach and other activities that reach families, students, community leaders and public health officials.
Instead of celebrating my daughter’s prom and high school graduation in 2012, I planned her funeral three days before she was to graduate from high school and buried her in her beautiful prom dress. Kimberly Coffey was 17 years old and was to start the Nursing Program at a local college in New York to pursue her dream of being a pediatric nurse.
Patti Wukovits, RN, Nurses Who Vaccinate Member
Patti Wukovits has been a nurse for 8 years. She is a certified oncology nurse and a M.O.M. (Mom on Meningitis) with the National Meningitis Association. Married with 4 children (one son, angel daughter Kim, a stepson and a stepdaughter). Her mission is to spread awareness of meningococcal disease - to be the voice for her daughter Kim.