The fact that the University of Wisconsin is not following up the initial round of the meningitis vaccination shots is irresponsible and completely asinine.
Not all too long ago, UW was in a bit of a frenzy over the discovery of Meningitis B on campus. There were a few students diagnosed around mid-October, and the response that followed had an end-of-the-world type flavor.
OK, maybe it wasn’t actually that extreme, but we as students definitely received our fair share of emails describing the dangers of this disease, how it can be spread and the importance of vaccinations against it.
In all honesty, all this hype came with a pretty good reason. For those who do not know, meningitis is the inflammation of the brain’s lining and spinal cord, very often caused by meningococcal bacteria. This can cause high fevers and severe headaches, and people who have meningitis usually become seriously ill in a matter of days.
Therefore, as I’m sure we all remember, UW made the kind gesture of providing free vaccinations for a few weeks to combat the spread of this less-than-pleasant disease. It was a pretty solid move considering the Centers for Disease Control considers only more than two cases an outbreak.
So once I found a little free time, I strolled on down to the SERF to get my shot and found myself in a herd of other informed students being pushed through an assembly line-esque makeshift clinic. I received an injection, a band-aid, a high five, “nice job” and a little reminder sheet telling me to come visit UW for a second round of shots in about 30 days’ time to completely oust that pesky, life-threatening meningitis bug.
So now that about 30 days have passed, I am due for my final round of vaccinations, just as so many other students on this campus are.
The only issue is the fact that UW has decided not to offer the second round of mass, widespread injections to those they were so eager to defend a little over a month ago.
According to the squad up in East Campus Mall, the end of semester is just so busy that they’re going to let students handle getting the rest of the vaccination on their own.
I understand that finals time is stressful for everyone, so setting up another clinic in the SERF like the one from mid-October wouldn’t exactly be a peach, but it still seems a little problematic that UW made such a drastic scene out of the whole thing and then turned around so casually to let us, as students, take care of finishing such a crucial vaccination. Although UHS will administer the vaccine to students who are uninsured, it seems this offer is begrudging at best.
The fact of the matter is that UW seems to be backing out on their apparent mission to keep its student body protected from a life-threatening disease.
If something is actually big enough of an issue such that I’m getting texts from my mom reminding me to get my shots because my school informed her directly of the discovery of meningitis on campus, then UW should probably make sure they finish the job of preventing the problem that caused such a scare in the first place.
Letting students fend for themselves for the necessary final stage of vaccinations against a life-threatening disease is irresponsible at best.
Phil Michaelson ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in biomedical engineering.