The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously voted today in favor of recommending meningococcal group B vaccines, including the Novartis vaccine, Bexsero®, for use to vaccinate high-risk groups in the US, such as individuals with immune-deficiencies and use of vaccines during outbreaks.
While this is a step forward in addressing Neisseria meningitidis group B (also known as MenB), one of the most prevalent serogroups of meningococcal disease in the US, it still leaves many college students and adolescents at risk for contracting the disease for the foreseeable future.
“Today’s high-risk recommendation does not cover the majority of adolescents and young adults in the US, who are at risk for contracting MenB. The MenB cases in recent weeks at Providence College, University of Oregon and Yale University all serve as a sobering reminder of the importance to act before additional individuals contract this potentially life-threatening disease,” said Andrin Oswald, Division Head, Novartis Vaccines, “We hope that ACIP will soon include MenB vaccines in a broader recommendation to help ensure everyone in this age range is aware of and has access to the vaccine.”
Thus, it is vitally important that the conversation broached today of providing a broader recommendation for the use of MenB vaccines continues, to encourage a vote for broader vaccination at the next ACIP meeting in June. Many colleges already require students to get the meningitis A, C, W, Y vaccine, but MenB is not yet required. Bexsero is currently available to protect adolescents across the country from MenB– the photo included below depicts the brother of meningitis survivor and advocate Leslie Meigs, one of the first teenagers in the US to receive the vaccine.