We are not invincible

This week, the second dose of the meningitis vaccine is available to undergrad students in Frist. I cannot underemphasize how important, medically and morally, it is that each and every student who is able and eligible receives the dose.

Yes, we are fresh out of our teenage years, years in which we can be forgiven for thinking of ourselves as invincible. And yes, “nothing ever happens in Princeton.” But over the last year, as a meningitis B outbreak has rocked the University, too many quite dangerous infections have happened in Princeton. Meningitis B is rare in the United States – this rarity is part of the reason that Bexsero is not yet licensed here. But Princeton is deeply connected to communities across the globe, and as such will increasingly find itself exposed to otherwise-exotic pathogens. A smart, coordinated, and fully-deployed response such as the CDC and Princeton’s cooperation to approve Bexsero for Princeton students is necessary in all such cases to protect our health and welfare. But we, the at-risk population, must contribute as well, taking every opportunity to reach the critical vaccination level for herd immunity, and this requires receiving the booster.

I urge you, undergraduates and other vaccine-eligible residents of Princeton, to get the second dose this week. If you have not received the first dose, get that, too. We are not invincible, and a painful shoulder and a trip to Frist are well worth protecting ourselves, and those around us, from an outbreak that it is within our power to stop.

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