Guidelines published online Oct. 23 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report recommend serogroup B meningococcal vaccination for adolescents and young adults ages 16-23.
The report by Jessica R. MacNeil, MPH, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues explained the decision by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The ACIP recommended 16- to 23-year-olds receive MenB vaccinations for short-term protection. “A MenB vaccine series may be administered to adolescents and young adults aged 16 to 23 years to provide short-term protection against most strains of serogroup B meningococcal disease,” the authors wrote. “The preferred age for MenB vaccination is 16 to 18 years.”
Lynn Bozof, president of the National Meningitis Association, said the recommendations are an important step. “While NMA would have preferred broader and stronger recommendations, the recent CDC permissive recommendation for serogroup B vaccine is a step forward in protecting young adults from this disease and should make it easier to access the vaccine,” Bozof said. “We encourage those 18-23 to speak with their doctor about the meningitis B vaccine. It is also important not to forget the meningococcal vaccine to protect against strains A, C, W and Y, which is recommended at age 11-12 with a booster dose at age 16.”
Bozof said only 30% of all 11- to 12-year-olds who have received the first dose of this vaccine have received the booster dose.
Two MenB vaccines, MenB-FHbo and MenB-4C, were licensed for use and approved in 10- to 25-year-olds, within the least year. Meningococcal diseases also were thrust into the public eye with meningitis outbreaks on college campuses in 2014 and 2015.
The immunogenicity and safety data from clinical trials were reviewed for these vaccines, according to the MMWR report. Data suggest the vaccines will protect against most currently circulating strains. Based on available data, there were no patterns of serious adverse events; additional safety data and post-licensure safety surveillance data are required. The ACIP supported vaccination for all adolescents, not just college students, mainly because of the number of cases occurring in those not attending college.
The vaccine should be administered as either a three-dose series of MenB-FHbp or a two-dose series of MenB-4C, according to the report. The two vaccines are not interchangeable, and the same vaccine product must be used for all doses. “As a parent who has lost a child to a potentially vaccine-preventable disease, I am pleased that the CDC has issued recommendations for the serogroup B vaccines,” Bozof said. “We hope that in the future, these recommendations will be broader and stronger, so that more people can be protected.”
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