After the sudden death of a gay man in West Hollywood, officials in Los Angeles began offering free meningitis vaccines on Monday.

Brett Shaad, a 33-year-old lawyer, was declared brain dead but remained on life support Friday afternoon, two days after being admitted to the emergency room at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center. He died Saturday, 20 minutes after being taken off life support.

Officials said that while Shaad was the only confirmed case in the area, they worried that it could be linked to at least 22 reported cases among gay men in New York since 2010, seven of whom have died.

Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, announced the free program in a statement.

“As a public health outreach, AHF will now offer the meningitis vaccine for free at our Hollywood (6210 W. Sunset Blvd.) and West Hollywood (8212 Santa Monica Blvd.) AHF pharmacy sites and at our Hollywood Men's Wellness Center (1300 N. Vermont Ave.) to anyone who thinks that they are at risk or have had exposure – particularly, those in the MSM (men who have sex with men) population,” Weinstein said. “We are prepared to offer up to 10,000 vaccinations for free at these three AHF locations and will consider adding additional AHF sites should there be a need or demand. It is my hope that the Health Department of the County of Los Angeles and CDC will also step up to the plate long before we get to those levels, if there is found to be a need to do so.”

While meningococcal meningitis can be effectively treated with antibiotics if detected early, it intensifies quickly, infecting the membrane surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. Survivors might suffer serious complications. Symptoms include a severe headache, fever, nausea and a stiff neck.

The infection is contagious, spreading though kissing, sharing of cups or utensils, and being in close contact with a person who is infected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4,100 cases of bacterial meningitis, including 500 deaths, occurred in the U.S. between 2003 and 2007.