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Unapproved meningitis vaccine now being used at 2nd US university

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Swiss drug maker Novartis says a second U.S. university is using its new vaccine against meningitis B.

Novartis said Monday that the vaccine, Bexsero, is being used at the University of California Santa Barbara until March 7 to help protect 20,000 students and staff after an outbreak.

The vaccine shot for the B strain of the meningitis bacteria is approved for use in Europe, Australia and Canada, but not yet for general use in the United States.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now approved the use of Bexsero twice in response to outbreaks at U.S. college campuses. It is the first vaccine against the B strain of meningitis.

Princeton University says almost 5,300 people got the vaccine last year in an effort to halt an outbreak there.

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