Meningitis Vaccine Shortage Hitting Health Departments, Local Clinics

By Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9
MIDLAND - A vaccine shortage is creating a major dilemma for college students heading back to class for the Spring semester. 
College students are required by law to get vaccinated for meningitis 10 days before the new Spring semester starts. But here's the problem in the Basin, Health Departments and local clinics say they're running out of the vaccine.
"Because there is a new requirement, we have not been able to keep it in stock," Becky Gates, nursing supervisor for the Midland Health Department, said.

Health Departments and clinics around the Basin have run out of the meningitis vaccine.

"Anytime that there is a new requirement for a certain vaccine it happens often that we run out. The supply and demand just doesn't meet," Gates said.

The new state law requires college students to get the vaccine 10 days before school starts.

"We have tried and submitted a new order a few weeks ago and its just not available out there to give," Gates said.

One of the reasons why they are out of vaccines is because of the low cost. At your local health department the cost is about $10, if you go elsewhere it will cost you about $130. The only problem the health departments run out quicker. So where can you go if you still need this vaccine?

"Some places, we are told, still have the vaccines here in Midland are the local pharmacies. Several of the local pharmacies Walgreens, HEB, Graham's Pharmacy and local pharmacies have them," Gates said.

For parents of younger kids worried about meningitis, they can get this vaccine as early as 7th grade.

"The problem is the adult vaccine. We have vaccines available for children through age 18 but for the 19 and above is what we don't have," Gates said.

Most students have until January 7th to get the vaccine. Clinics recommend to call your physician before you go to make sure they have a vaccine.

The Midland Health Department hopes to get another batch of vaccines by the end of this week. The Odessa Health Department couldn't say when they would have more vaccines available.