The Westfield Regional Health Department, which handles Springfield as well as surrounding towns, will be offering free meningitis vaccinations to the following individuals.
- Individuals 11 through 18 years of age.
- College freshmen living in dormitories.
- Microbiologists who are routinely exposed to meningococcal bacteria.
- U.S. military recruits.
- Anyone traveling to, or living in, a part of the world where meningococcal disease is common, such as parts of Africa.
- Anyone who has a damaged spleen, or whose spleen has been removed.
- Anyone who has an immune system disorder.
Meningitis is a common name for infections in the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. About 3,000 individuals get meningitis each year in the U.S. and can be fatal in about 10% of cases.
Meningitis is spread through person to person contact with an infected individual. Symptoms can include severe headache, high fever and stiff neck. While meningitis can be very serious and sometimes fatal, the vaccine is highly effective. Please contact the Westfield Regional Health Department at 908-789-4070 for an appointment to receive this free vaccine.