Meningococcal disease is a serious, potentially fatal, illness caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria and potentially leading to meningitis, which is inflammation and infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, and bacteremia, a widespread blood infection. Because Meningococcal disease can occur even in healthy individuals, often without any warning signs and quickly progressing, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended vaccinating against this disease.
While there are at least 12 known serotypes of Neisseria meningitidis, serotypes A, B, C, W, and Y cause most meningococcal disease. Recommendations for the quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine covering serotypes A, C, W-135, and Y has long been out and a requirement by schools and colleges, with the first dose recommended at 11 or 12 years of age, followed by a booster dose between ages 16-18 years.
However, now there is a monovalent vaccine that protects against serotype B (MenB) that is now licensed for use in the United States and approved for use in adolescents since 2015, with the ACIP updating its recommendations in the middle of 2015, to include recommendations for the MenB vaccine. While newer to the United States, this vaccine has been in use and proven safe and effective in other countries in its use over the past 3.5 years. The recommendations call for those at increased risk for the disease, including adolescents, with the age of administration preferably between 16-18 years.
Review the video on this site to learn more about the Meningitis B vaccine.
The recommended schedule depends on which vaccine series you start, with the same vaccine having to be used for all doses in order to be considered complete:
Bexsero® is given as 2 doses, at least 1 month apart.
Trumenba® is given as 3 doses, with the second dose 2 months after the first and the third dose 6 months after the first.
Looking closer to home, a study published in the May 2015 issue of the journal Pediatrics, examined and proved the efficacy of the Serogroup B Meningococcal vaccine in a 2013-2014 outbreak among persons linked to a New Jersey university, giving all the more push behind the ACIP recommendations which were released shortly thereafter.
Pediatric Center of Round Rock now carries the MenB vaccine (Bexsero® ) and is recommending it at well checks, beginning at 16 years. While colleges in the United States have yet to require this vaccine due to its relatively recent release and use, it may very well become a requirement in the near future. For more questions regarding the MenB vaccine, please feel free to consult us at your next visit.