Where you can get free Meningitis vaccines

BY TROY MASTERS  |  With 22 cases already identified, an outbreak of Invasive Meningococcal Disease, underway in Los Angeles and Orange County, has drawn Federal health investigators to the area from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   Local Public Health officials are now pivoting to messaging to ensure as many people get vaccinated against the disease as possible.

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It appears that people of color are at particular risk of contracting the disease.  Of the 12 cases of invasive meningococcal disease reported by L.A. County Department of Public Health (data excludes Long Beach) 7 are Latino, 2 black, 1 asian, and 2 white. More than half of all cases are among gay or bisexual men.

Symptoms_of_MeningitisMeningococcal vaccine is recommended for all HIV positive individuals and all gay/bisexual men or men who have sex with men (MSM) who are at higher risk, including those who regularly have close or intimate contact with multiple partners or who seek partners through digital apps, particularly those who share cigarettes/marijuana or use illegal drugs.

It is possible that you can be a carrier of this easily transmitted disease, even though you do not develop it or show any symptoms.

The symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck. There are often additional symptoms, such as

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Photophobia (increased sensitivity to light)
  • Altered mental status (confusion)

The symptoms of meningococcal meningitis can appear quickly or over several days. Typically they develop within 3-7 days after exposure.  About 10 percent of cases result in death.

The disease is easily treated with a proper round of antibiotics if caught in time but can rapidly become life-threatening.

Free meningococcal vaccinations are available for all people at higher-risk at the following health centers:

Los Angeles LGBT Center
1625 N. Schrader Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
By appointment only.
To schedule an appointment, call 323-993-7500.

APLA Health & Wellness
Gleicher/Chen Health Center
3743 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90016
Call 323-329-9900 for information.

APLA Health & Wellness
Long Beach Health Center
1043 Elm Ave., Suite 302
Long Beach, CA 90813
Call 562-432-0700 for information.

AHF Wellness Center – Hollywood
1300 N. Vermont Ave., Suite 407
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Call 866-339-2525 for information.
Clinic is located in the Doctor’s Tower building.

AHF Wellness Center – West Adams
2146 W. Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Call 888-836-5946 for information.

AHF Wellness Center – San Fernando Valley
4835 Van Nuys Blvd., Suite 200
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Call 866-625-4559 for information.

AHF Wellness Centers – Long Beach
3500 E. Pacific Coast Hwy.
Long Beach, CA 90804
Call (562) 494-4983 for information.

Curtis-Tucker Public Health Center
123 W. Manchester Blvd.
Inglewood, CA 90301
Regular hours are Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.
Call (310) 419-5325 with questions.

Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Public Health (in STD Clinic)
11833 S. Wilmington Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90059
Regular hour are Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.
Call (323) 568-8100 with questions.

Whittier Health Center
7643 S. Painter Ave.
Whittier, CA 90602
Regular hours are Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.
Call (562) 464-5350 with questions.

Pomona Public Health Center
750 S. Park Ave.
Pomona CA 91766
Regular hour are Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.
Call (909) 868-0235 with questions.

North Hollywood Health Center (in STD Clinic)
5300 Tujunga Ave.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Regular hour are Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.
Call (818) 766-3982 with questions.

The following providers within the City of West Hollywood provide vaccinations through health-insurance coverage; people without coverage will have to pay out-of-pocket — please contact a provider directly to confirm vaccine availability:

  • The Men’s Health Foundation and the Southern California Men’s Medical Group will offer the meningococcal vaccine to patients with or without insurance; the Men’s Health Foundation has plans to provide free vaccinations as soon as possible, once an allotment is received from L.A. County Public Health. The Foundation and Medical Group are located at 9201 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 812. For more information, please call(310) 550-1010 or email tmills@tonymillsmd.com.

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