CDC Panel Recommends Meningitis Vaccine for College Freshmen Who Live in Dormatories
An advisory panel to CDC on Thursday recommended that all college freshmen who live in dormitories receive meningitis vaccinations, a major revision to agency guidelines prompted in large part by the availability of a new, more effective vaccine, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. The committee also recommended meningitis vaccinations for all children ages 11 to 12 and said that at least four million children should receive the vaccine under the federal children's vaccine program.
Menactra, a new meningitis vaccine manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, remains effective for eight years, four to five years longer than the old vaccine. In addition, the old meningitis vaccine "didn't prevent people from becoming carriers" of the disease, the AP/Chronicle reports. Mark Messonier, a CDC economist who worked on a cost-effectiveness study of the recommendations, said that Menactra, which costs about $100 per dose, "will save lives."
CDC committee member and Mayo Clinic physician Gregory Poland said, "If this were a more minor illness, no, I couldn't justify" the cost. He added, "But this is such a morbid disease, it causes such disruption." College freshmen who live in dormitories are six times as likely as others to contract meningitis, and those who "don't die from it often are left with severe complications," the AP/Chronicle reports (Yee, AP/Houston Chronicle, 2/10).