Calls are growing in Nova Scotia for a provincially funded meningitis B vaccine.
It comes after three deaths linked to the infection in the past 18 months. An outbreak has also been declared at Sheriff Hall, a hall of residence at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
After contracting meningitis B in 2019, Logan Gothreau is sharing his story to help raise awareness.
Family renews calls for change after Dalhousie University death from meningitis
“It was the scariest and most painful experience of my life,” he says.
Today, he has no problem lifting heavy weights and running around the gym, but says when he contracted the infection in 2019, his health deteriorated rapidly.
Gothreau remembers the time very well. He says that on his 19th birthday on October 17, 2019, he went out to lunch and spent the day working out at a gym. It was the next day that he felt ill.
“When I woke up, I felt a little sick, nothing crazy,” Gothreau says. “It was like a cold, but as the day went on it got progressively worse, and it got worse and worse hour by hour, so by 4 p.m. I was very ill and I didn’t couldn’t get out of bed.”
After multiple hospital visits and several tests, including a lumbar puncture, he was told he had meningitis B. Gothreau says he was scared when he heard the diagnosis because he lost his friend near Rylee Sears in 9th grade due to infection. Gothreau now has a tattoo honoring Sears on his ankle.
“It sounds morbid, but I felt like my life was over at that point,” Gothreau recalled. It wasn’t, but it’s been a long road to recovery. “It was about a year to a year and a half after it was confirmed that I had meningitis before I went back to normal,” he says.
Gothreau says he’s now sharing his story to raise awareness and demand that the meningitis B vaccine be funded by the province — and he’s not alone.
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In a recent interview with PKBNEWS, Norrie Matthews, who lost her son Kai to meningitis in 2021, renewed her call for the Prime Minister to add the MenB vaccine to the routine publicly funded program of Province.
“I think it is time now, and Premier Houston now has the opportunity to step up, take the lead and demonstrate that Nova Scotia can be the first province in Canada to offer a funded vaccination clinic. by the state for healthy students,” says Matthews.
The Matthews family is the founder of the B for Kai organization, which was created to raise awareness of the B strain and increase vaccination rates.
Currently, the province’s routine immunization program includes coverage for vaccines that protect against four strains of meningococcal disease (A, C, W and Y). They are deployed from early childhood and as part of the school curriculum.
For Nova Scotians who want to get vaccinated against meningitis B, and it is not covered by private insurance, you will have to pay around $300.
In a statement, Health Minister Michelle Thompson said her heart goes out to those who have lost a family member to the disease.
When it comes to the vaccine, she said, the province relies on the advice of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
“Meningococcal B vaccines are provided through the publicly funded program to individuals with high-risk conditions and in response to an individual case, or more rarely, in response to an outbreak,” the statement said.
“As a province, we rely on the advice of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). At this time, NACI does not recommend offering this vaccine to the general population, as there is little evidence to support its effectiveness. »
Meningitis B epidemic in Dalhousie continues, vaccines are available
These guidelines are outdated, according to Matthews. In an email to our newsroom, he says the province needs to take a proactive approach.
“I think it’s time for Nova Scotia to look at the local epidemiology in our province and make vaccine funding decisions based on a broader perspective than that offered by the outdated guidelines of the CCNI,” says Matthews.
After going through what he did, Gothreau agrees.
“We don’t want one more person dying to make it more important,” he says. “Imagine if it was your son, imagine if it was your brother, imagine if it was your husband. You wouldn’t want them to have that experience.
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