This past Sunday morning, I woke up early and travelled to Farmington Hills, Michigan to join a group of parents, students, and their families to receive a vaccine for the deadly Meningitis B (MenB) bacteria. I was joining the Emily Stillman Foundation on one of their “bus trips’ across the Canadian border to receive the vaccine, because it’s not available in the United States. Despite being legal in 34 countries, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has dragged its feet on approving the vaccine in the U.S. In the last four months, the foundation has taken over 200 people to get receive the vaccine in Canada.
Alicia Stillman is doing tremendous work bringing people to Canada so that they can protect themselves against MenB. Alicia lived every parent’s worst nightmare when her daughter, Emily, tragically passed away after contracting the deadly bacteria. Emily was a student at Western Michigan University with her entire life ahead of her when she was taken way too soon. And last year, fourteen other college students at Princeton, University of California, Santa Barbera and Drexel also contracted MenB that resulted in more deaths and complications that could have been prevented.
You may have read my recent Star Tribune article about the dangers of MenB and the need to swiftly approve the vaccine in the U.S. The FDA has allowed incoming students at Princeton University to receive the vaccination, but still have not acted swiftly enough to ensure all other Americans can receive this important protection.