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U of O Ramps Up Meningococcemia Vaccination Program

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Tiffany Eckert
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In the wake of a Meningitis-like outbreak at the University of Oregon, health officials are stepping up a vaccination program. Due to demand, a temporary clinic opened Monday in Mathew Knight arena to vaccinate students who want to be immunized as soon as possible. KLCC's Tiffany Eckert was there.

Since Monday morning, more than 700 students have received the vaccination for Meningococcal Group B, the disease that has sickened three students and caused the death of freshman athlete Lauren Jones.

Mike Eyster is Executive Director of the University Health Center.

Eyster: "This is a pretty good sized crowd we have here. The health center was actually getting very crowded and Lane County Public Health very generously has provided staffing to staff this clinic. And so we're able to handle students who want to get vaccinated prior to our mass vaccination clinic."

The university plans to immunize the entire undergraduate population by the end of next week (March 2-6). That's about 22,000 students.

Senior Lauren French has a very simple reason for being here.

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Credit Tiffany Eckert
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Lauren French and Megan Conder talk while waiting in line at the vaccination clinic at Matthew Knight Arena.

French: "Just a precaution-- I know it's not super common to catch it and you have to do 'contact to contact' but it's better to be safe than sorry."

French lives in a house off campus--"But you're on campus all the time and you come across people who live in the dorms so it's better just to make sure your safe."

Megan Conder is a freshman.

Conder: "I live in the dorms and the girl that passed away--I'm a student athlete and she's a student athlete and we both lived at Barnhart so I think it's really important for all of us to be doing this. You know everyone needs to take precautions for what's going around. And I think this is a big wake up call for everyone."

Senior Harrison Lum got a wake up call.

Lum:"I'm actually just here because my mom called me last night and she wants me to get it. I listen to my mama."

Reporter: "Where is your mom?"

Lum: "In Hawaii. She just wants me to be safe and healthy."

The U of O's Mike Eyster says the mass vaccination clinic for students next week will have staff available to answer questions about insurance and how to pay for the costly shot.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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