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Meningitis B Vaccine FAQs

I already got meningitis shots from my doctor at home as a teenager.  Do I still need to get this MenB shot?

Yes, you still need to get this new shot.  The MenB shots are NEW vaccines (called Trumenba or Bexsero) approved in late 2014-early 2015.  They cover meningococcal serogroup B, while the previous meningitis shots (called Menactra, Menveo or Menomune) cover serogroup A, C, W & Y.  Those diseases are also very serious, so please be sure your last booster for those shots was at age 16 or later.  You will not have protection against the MenB disease that affected UCSB students in 2013 unless you get the new MenB shots.

Who is considered at risk of Meningitis B?

The target population considered to be at most risk are younger UCSB students, especially new students coming to the campus for the first time. Our previous cases occurred in undergraduates living in shared residences, and members of sports teams and Greek organizations. Older persons have much less risk, although cases do rarely occur in any age group.

Who can get the vaccine?

It is licensed for use in the U.S.A. by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for persons aged 10-25 years of age, except in an outbreak setting where the CDC recently recommended the vaccine be given with no upper age limit.

Registered students can obtain the vaccine from UCSB Student Health. Graduate students are considered to be at lower risk than undergraduates; however, the FDA has approved both vaccines for those up to age 26. For students over 26 it is considered “off-label” but can be administered after consultation with your medical provider.

Community members, staff and faculty are encouraged to consult their private clinicians to determine if they should get the vaccine. Persons with conditions that compromise their immunity, especially persons who have complement component deficiencies (e.g., C5-C9, properdin, factor H, factor D, or taking Soliris®) or absence of their spleen. We have been advised that Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara does have the MenB vaccine available. 

I cannot locate the vaccine in our area. How urgent is this? Can I/ my student wait until arrival to campus?

Finding vaccine can be difficult because with only a “high-risk” recommendation, it is unlikely that many physicians will have vaccine available in their offices. Convenient clinics will be arranged at Student Health Service and on-campus to assist students in the earliest dosing possible on arrival to campus. Please visit our website: for clinic offerings forthcoming.

Can I wait until the next time I go home to get the MenB shots?  What is the urgency for getting the shots now?

We do not recommend any delays in obtaining the new MenB vaccines, because the highest risk of disease occurs when new students are exposed to the meningococcal bacteria for the first time when they arrive in a new environment. The majority of adult cases in California have occurred at age 18 years.

Unfortunately, the meningococcal bacteria may still be present in students who have had the vaccine, so they can pass it to others even though they are protected from the disease. The best way for students to protect themselves is to receive the full series of the new MenB vaccines (2 doses of Bexsero or 3 doses of Trumenba) as soon as possible.

Is it a live vaccine?

No, it is made of recombinant protein components. It is believed to be safe for use in immunocompromised persons.

Does the vaccine contain latex or mercury?

The tip caps of the Bexsero® pre-filled syringes contain natural rubber latex which may cause allergic reactions in latex sensitive individuals. No mercury is contained in either vaccine.

Can I get it at the same time as other vaccines?

YES, we believe it is safe to get multiple vaccines at the same time if needed, based on experience with other vaccines that work in different ways. Clinical studies have been done with Trumenba® and Gardasil® (HPV vaccine) given simultaneously, and with Bexsero® and influenza vaccine, and found no decrease in effectiveness of either vaccine. Other vaccine interactions have not been studied.

How many shots are needed for full protection against MenB disease?

For Bexsero®, a series of 2 shots given now and one month later is needed to provide maximum immunity.

For Trumenba®, a series of 3 shots given now, two months later and six months later are needed to provide maximum immunity.

Although some protection is achieved after the first shot, studies have shown this response soon wanes, and it is very important to complete the series for each product in order to develop full and longer lasting protection against disease.

NOTE: The two vaccine products cannot be interchanged.

If I can't get the shots exactly on schedule, will that be a problem?

NO, the vaccine still works if the intervals between the shots have to be extended longer than the recommended follow-up doses. However, the fastest protection will be achieved by adhering to the schedule.

What are side effects?

Most commonly reported is sore arm at the site of the injection. Extensive testing in clinical trials was presented to FDA who approved the widespread use of the vaccines.

How much does it cost?

Starting 9/10/15, the California and Santa Barbara County Departments of Public Health have supplied a limited number of MenB Bexsero vaccines at no cost for UCSB students, who are considered the highest risk groups to develop MenB.  Student Health will be offering these onsite and at many additional sites around campus; please check our dedicated webpage for details.  We will provide these to students on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.

The MenB vaccines are also 100% covered by GHI student insurance without any additional cost to the student.  UCSB is offering the vaccines at our cost without any small injection fee in order to make them as available as possible.

For students with other insurance, currently the charge is $185 for each of the two Bexsero shots, and $133 for each of the three Trumemba shots.  Charges can be billed to your BARC account.  You can request a billing statement to submit to your health insurance company (or print out yourself through the Student Health Gateway).

If I already got the MenB vaccine (called Bexsero®) offered at UCSB in February - May 2014 at the Rec Cen, do I still need to get Trumenba®?

NO, if you had two doses in 2014 you should have protection, and do not need the new vaccine. HOWEVER, if you only came for ONE DOSE, you do not have adequate protection and should come in for your second Bexsero® MenB vaccine.

If I already got one dose at home of the MenB vaccine (called Bexsero® or Trumenba®), can I get the remaining doses at UCSB Student Health?

YES, we have both types of vaccine at UCSB Student Health to complete your vaccine series. The two vaccine products cannot be interchanged. It is important that we receive your prior records so that we can verify the proper vaccine and dosage timing. Please either bring in your records when you come for the shot, or send to us by email at or by FAX to (805) 893-2758.

How do I handle the second dose if I got my first dose at home?

It is always a good idea to get documentation of any immunizations you have been given for your personal health records.  We strongly encourage you to send a copy electronically to to be scanned in to your electronic health record.  Please ensure your name and perm number are clearly identified in addition to the vaccine information.  You may also bring a copy of your first dose at the correct interval.

If you received Trumenba, you can complete the Trumenba series at clinics operated within Student Health. Only Bexsero doses will be given at clinics held on campus outside Student Health.

Where can I get additional information?

See the links on the Student Health website MenB page, or contact your Student Health clinician confidentially through our website. General information can also be obtained by emailing or calling (805) 893-5339.