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Meningococcal Outbreak in Southern California, Vaccines Urged for At-Risk Adult Gay and Bisexual Men, and All People with HIV

August 12, 2016

On June 24 and August 3, 2016, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued health advisories related to an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease occurring in Southern California, primarily among adult gay and bisexual men. Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis and can cause meningitis and bloodstream infections (sepsis). Although rare, meningococcal disease is serious and potentially fatal.

“Vaccination is the best protection against meningococcal disease,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith.

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) would like to remind pharmacy providers that the following meningococcal vaccines recommended for treatment of at-risk individuals (meningococcal conjugate or polysaccharide vaccines) are covered without a Treatment Authorization Request (TAR) or Service Authorization Request (SAR). Under current pharmacy law, qualified pharmacists may administer the vaccination to at-risk patients without obtaining a prescription from a physician. DHCS encourages pharmacy providers to order and stock the appropriate meningococcal vaccines and actively encourage at-risk persons to get vaccinated.

For the full text of the CDPH Health Advisories, go to
http://www.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/NR16-037.aspx and
https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/NR16-045.aspx.

For more information about coverage of meningococcal vaccines, refer to the Drugs: Contract Drugs List Part 1 section of the Part 2 Pharmacy manual.