Recent headlines about meningococcal serogroup B outbreaks on US colleges and universities in the past few years have increased public awareness of meningococcal disease. College administrators, health officials, parents, and students face the possibility that a similar crisis could arise on their campuses. Although rare, meningococcal disease can be devastating.
Parents usually rely on their child’s pediatrician to keep them up-to-date on vaccines. But the updated meningococcal vaccine recommendation recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is different. The new recommendation paves the way for adolescents and young adults to get vaccinated against a rare, but deadly infection called serogroup B meningococcal disease–but it puts more responsibility on parents to seek and request the vaccine.
The permissive (Category B) recommendation for meningococcal serogroup B vaccination reflects the science of the disease, takes into account many practical issues in vaccine delivery, and offers the widest range of solutions for patients and their families, healthcare providers, and the healthcare system.
Adding a vaccine to the recommended schedule is not without controversy. All vaccines cost money—the meningococcal B vaccine costs around $130 a dose and currently the two vaccines available are part of a 2- or 3-dose series. However, the benefits of vaccination far out weigh the cost of vaccination.
Recent outbreaks of serogroup B meningococcal disease on US college campuses have heightened awareness about the lack of licensed vaccines in the US to protect against this serious and sometimes fatal infection. The increased focus on the challenges of facing this unpredictable disease and the need for an effective and timely public health response when outbreaks occur, led the National Foundation for Infectious…