PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A state lawmaker is pushing for FDA approval of a meningitis vaccine, after a local college student died of Meningitis B.
Former Upper St. Clair High School Student and Drexel University student Stephanie Ross died March 10 of Meningitis B and her parents told Congressman Tim Murphy it didn’t have to happen.
“It’s breaking their hearts to realize if they had been told, if other parents had been told there was a vaccine available, there was a need for this, surely they would have had their daughter vaccinated,” Murphy said.
Investigators believe Ross contracted the Meningitis B through contact with a Princeton student, where there was an outbreak last year. There was also several cases at UC Santa Barbara. Students on both campuses were vaccinated with the Men-B vaccine, but widespread approval is plodding through the FDA’s process.
“It has already been approved in Europe, Australia, Canada,” Murphy said.
At the request of the Ross family, who don’t want to see another family lose their child, Congressman Murphy has taken up the cause to get the vaccine approved. A vaccine some parents are taking their children out of the country to get.
“That shouldn’t have to happen here,” Murphy said. “In fact, the FDA has proven its efficacy and safety.”
On the Pitt campus, students were baffled by the FDA’s hesitancy.
“I would want to be protected against that, because if you have meningitis, you almost instantly die,” said one student.
“Get everyone moving forward so this doesn’t have to happen again,” said another student.
Congressman Murphy will have a meeting with the FDA chief Wednesday in his office in hopes of doing some arm twisting and get the vaccine approved, because he believes it can save the lives of college students throughout the country.