State Rep. Greg Harris Gets Vaccinated for Meningitis at Howard Brown Health Center

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

In response to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) confirming four cases of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) among men who have sex with men (MSM ), on Monday, June 8, State Representative Greg Harris (13th Ward) came into Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) and received the meningococcal vaccine. IMD is a rare communicable bacterial disease that can cause meningitis, a severe disease of the brain and spinal cord, and other potentially fatal conditions. IMD is spread through intimate activities such as kissing and sexual contact or sharing drinks or cigarettes, smoking devices or marijuana. Common symptoms are fever, headache and a stiff neck. Other accompanying symptoms include nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and confusion.

Joined by his Chief of Staff, Coleman Goode, Harris emphasized that by doing this publicly they wanted to set an example to the community about how simple, painless and necessary it is to get vaccinated. “Being gay and HIV-positive, I read in the paper that there has been an outbreak of meningitis [and that I could be at risk.] Yes, it’s hard to develop, but it is a communicable disease and anyone who is at risk should just come in and get a simple shot,” said Harris. Since the announcement on June 3, HBHC, in conjunction with the CDPH, issued a health advisory urging the target demographic to be vaccinated. HBHC’s Chief Clinical Officer Magda Houlberg, MD, emphasizes that more people need to come in in order to have full protection, especially with Pride Month activities coming up throughout the month. For more information, visit

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