A CDC advisory committee is recommending new vaccines to prevent meningitis B for teens and young adults. Scott Parkhurst recalled that his son was dead in nearly 36 hours after getting attacked from this disease.
They were among dozens urging the committee to take the strongest action possible and put a recently FDA approved vaccine for serogroup B on the adolescent immunization schedule.
“We’ll keep working until we get it to that higher level of recommendation”, he said.
A federal advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given a partial endorsement of two meningitis vaccines.
Serogroup B is the most common cause of meningococcal disease in adolescents, with the risk of disease increasing in college-aged adolescents and young adults.
In this Monday, March 2, 2015 photo, pharmacist Jenna Wright administers the Meningitis B vaccine to University of Oregon freshman Drew Russert during a mass vaccination clinic at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. after an outbreak of meningococcemia. She spent nine days in the ICU and died from the virus.
“I want parents to know there is a fifth serogroup of meningococcal disease, and without the meningococcal B vaccine your child is not fully protected”, Wukovits said.
It’s estimated that the vaccine could save three or four lives a year if recommended by ACIP. For them, the CDC ruling is likely a victory. Current quadrivalent vaccines for meningococcal disease in the United States don’t include the B serotype.
In February, the ACIP said Trumenba and Bexsero should be considered only for high-risk patients in the 10 to 25 age group, but it was persuaded to revisit the recommendation after the two companies and patient groups argued that this was too narrow.
Some groups say the CDC recommendation does not go far enough because it does not make it a routine vaccination.
The committee extended the recommended interval for adults receiving the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13; Prevnar13, Wyeth) and the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23; Pneumovax 23, Merck) from 6 months to at least 1 year apart, regardless of sequence.
The recommendation doesn’t become official health policy until it is approved by the director of the CDC and published in Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report. Although state schools do not require any meningitis vaccinations, they recommend the four-strain vaccines, particularly for students who live in dorms or other on-campus housing.
“If you break down the cost of the vaccine for three to five years, it’s pennies a day”.
“Parents are going to hear “meningitis” and they’re going to think, ‘I’ve done that already.’ It gets complicated explaining that, ‘Yeah, your child has had the quadvaccine, but this covers the one strain that was missing.’ So it will be more involved in educating parents, but it has to be done or there will still be cases”.
“Today’s decision will help parents and healthcare professionals protect our children from all forms of meningitis by providing access to the vaccines”, NMA President Lynn Bozof said in the statement.