In the United States we immunize teens for bacterial meningitis strains A, C, Y and W. The first immunization is given at age 11 years with a booster dose at 16 years. This immunization protects children and young adults for middle school, high school and college. Gathering together in groups, sharing food and drinks and close contact all increase the risk of meningitis transmission. It has long been known that close living quarters for military recruits and college students in dormitories can spread meningitis. This is why we immunize young adults.
Recently, the meningitis B strain which is not in the current immunization has caused infections and deaths in the United States. Some of these deaths have been on college campuses in California.
The meningitis B vaccine is licensed to give in the United States, however the American Council on Immunization Practices stopped short of recommending it for everyone. Part of this involves the relatively small number of infections and the cost of immunizing all young adults. Some college campuses are requiring the meningitis B vaccination; others recommend it. Some insurance companies cover it; some may not.
We believe it is important for all families to have information about meningitis B and consider immunizing their child/children against this infection. The vaccine is requires two doses given 4 weeks apart for ages 10 years and older.
The vaccine information sheet for the meningitis B vaccine is here.
Please call the office if you have questions or would like to make an appointment for the immunization.