Meningococcal B Prevention

San Diego State University is continuing its efforts to support the health and safety of the university community.

SDSU is asking all students 23 years of age and younger to check their immunization records and to get vaccinated for MenB – a potentially fatal disease spread through close contact with those who are ill.

The effective vaccines for MenB are Trumenba and Bexsero, which were approved by the FDA in 2014-15. Many students did not receive them while in high school but did receive vaccines for other meningitis serogroups.

MenB is life-threatening. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is critical because the disease progresses rapidly and can be fatal in as few as 12 hours after symptoms that often resemble influenza

Videos about MenB

Learn more about how Meningitis impacts students and their families:



The bacteria (meningococcus) can be transmitted by direct contact with oral secretions, through the air via sneeze or cough droplets of respiratory secretions, or even through speaking closely face to face. Oral contact includes sharing items, such as cigarettes or drinking glasses, or through intimate contact such as kissing.

The early symptoms usually associated with meningococcal meningitis may resemble the flu and include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting and lethargy. Because the disease progresses rapidly, often in as little as 12 hours, prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical to recovery.

You can learn more about meningococcal disease and vaccines by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meningococcal and immunization websites:

People spread meningococcal bacteria to others by exchanging respiratory and throat secretions during close or lengthy contact. Prevention of meningococcal infection includes both specific vaccines and behaviors that help prevent the spread of meningococcus and other infectious illnesses.

The best prevention is vaccination. The two vaccines that are most effective against MenB are Bexsero and Trumenba.

Also, all members of the campus community are encouraged to engage in healthy habits, which lower the risk of acquiring meningococcal meningitis and many other infections. Good health habits include:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water.
  • Abstaining from smoking and being around smoking.
  • Not sharing cups and other utensils; food and beverages; or makeup and lip balm.
  • Eating healthy, nutritious foods and drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Exercising, managing stress with healthy coping strategies and getting plenty of quality sleep.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or a sleeve (not your hand) when coughing or sneezing.

All San Diego State University undergraduate students ages 23 and younger who have not been fully immunized with the meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine are urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Fully immunized means having received all doses required for the MenB vaccination, a multi-dose series.  Bexsero is a two-dose series, and Trumenba is a three-dose series during outbreaks. For those who have received only one vaccine dose, it is important to complete the series to improve protection. Immunization is still recommended for all of those ages 23 and younger who received Cipro (ciprofloxacin) due to possible exposure as a close contact in early September.

Students can get the vaccine through their primary care physician, at a local pharmacy or through SDSU Student Health Services at Calpulli Center.


Q: If I have insurance, how can I access the vaccine?

A: Step 1: Locate the phone number for your health insurance as well as your member ID number. You can find this information on your insurance card.

Step 2: Call your health insurance company and ask the following questions:

  • Where can I go to get the meningitis B vaccine?
  • How much will this cost using my health insurance?
  • Do I need to make an appointment to get this or can I walk in?

Step 3: If vaccine or preventative treatment needs to be administered at a doctor's office and you do not already have a local primary care provider, ask for a list of medical providers (doctor, nurse practitioner, pharmacies, etc.) in the area and instructions on how to make an appointment.

Step 4: Before concluding the call, confirm price, location, and if an appointment is needed.

Q: What do I do if I have Medi-Cal or Medicaid?

A: Please reach out to your health insurance provider via the steps mentioned above.

Q: What should I do if my insurance is out of state or if I am out of network?

A: Please reach out to SDSU's Health Literacy and Outreach Coordinator at 619-594-4133.

Q: I am uninsured and cannot afford the vaccine. What should I do?

A: Please reach out to SDSU's Health Literacy and Outreach Coordinator at 619-594-4133.

Q: What should I do if I cannot find my immunization card?

A: Check out Student Health Services guide to Locating Your Immunization Records.

Q: What vaccines are available to prevent meningococcal B (MenB) and how are they administered?

A: There are two available vaccines for serogroup B meningococcal disease; Bexsero (a two-dose series) and Trumenba (a three-dose series during outbreaks). The same vaccine must be used for all doses. For more information, download the vaccines pdf.

Both MenB vaccines are administered through an intramuscular injection in the arm.

Q: What are the potential side effects for the vaccines?

A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that potential side effects from receiving the MenB vaccine can include soreness, redness and swelling around the area where the shot was given; feeling tired; headaches; muscle or joint pain; fever or chills; nausea or diarrhea. Learn more via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

Q: What should I do if I have had one vaccine but not both?

A: If you have started one of the MenB vaccine series (Bexsero or Trumenba), make plans to complete the appropriate series through your health-care provider or a convenient pharmacy at the correct time interval. Contact your insurer to find out what pharmacy will accept your insurance. SDSU Student Health Services is also able to complete your MenB vaccine series. Call to find out about fees and scheduling an appointment.
Note: Because you must complete your series with the same vaccine as used to start the series, it is important that you bring your vaccine record with you to your appointment. Your provider will want to verify that they are using the same vaccine you first received.

Q: What if I am an SDSU undergraduate aged 23 or younger but do not want to get vaccinated?

A: Students may only request medical exemptions.

Medical exemptions are for students unable to receive vaccines due to health risks. This form must be filled out by their medical provider and uploaded to the student’s HealtheConnect account. The Immunization Medical Exemption form is available on the Student Health Services Website.

Please be aware that if you request an exemption and are not vaccinated for a specific disease, you may be excluded from school for your own protection in the occurrence of an outbreak, potential epidemic or epidemic of a vaccine-preventable disease until the danger has passed.

If you believe an exemption is the best option for you, please reach out to Student Health Services to discuss further with a staff member.

Q: Who should avoid these vaccines?

A: Individuals should avoid the vaccine if they have had any severe, life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of MenB vaccine or if they have a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine. (Tell your health-care provider if you have any any severe allergies of which you are aware. Your health-care provider will tell you about the vaccine's ingredients.) Also, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should speak to their doctors and tell the person administering the vaccine of their conditions.

Individuals with mild illness, such as a cold, can probably be vaccinated. Moderate or severe illness may require that an individual wait until recovery to be vaccinated.

If you have more questions, call Student Health Services at 619-594-4325. As a reminder, Student Health Services offers a nurse advice hotline via 858-225-3105 after 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, and on weekends and SDSU holidays.

You can also call San Diego County Public Health Services' Epidemiology Division at 619-692-8499.