Archive | November, 2015

Q&A: Meningitis Vaccines for A, C, W, Y & B

17 Nov

We wrote about the new serogroup B vaccine recommendation when CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted on it in June.

On October 23, 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved and published the recommendation for permissive use of serogroup B meningococcal vaccine for adolescents at age 16-23, with a preferred age of 16-18. This made the recommendation official.

The meningococcal vaccine for A, C, W and Y is recommended at age 11-12 with a booster at 16 and is part of the routine vaccination schedule. The B vaccine is recommended permissively, meaning that parents have a larger responsibility to seek and request the vaccine. That’s why it’s so important for parents to speak with their child’s healthcare provider to make sure their child is fully vaccinated against the disease.

To make the vaccination process clearer and easier for everyone who wants to be fully protected, especially given this new recommendation, we have answered some common questions about meningococcal vaccination below.

Q: Can my teen receive the serogroup B vaccine during the same visit as the A, C, W and Y vaccine?

A: Yes, your teen can be vaccinated against serogroup B during the same visit as the quadrivalent vaccine, preferably in different arms. Fortunately teens can receive the quadrivalent vaccine and start the serogroup B series of shots at one visit at the age of 16. The serogroup B vaccines require either two or three doses.

Q: What can I do if my doctor doesn’t stock the serogroup B vaccine?

A: Because the serogroup B vaccine is still very new, some doctors may not have it in their offices yet. You can ask your doctor to order the vaccine. Otherwise, college health centers, pharmacies and/or travel clinics may have it in stock. Another way to locate vaccine providers who carry serogroup B vaccines is by using the HealthMap Vaccine Finder: http://vaccine.healthmap.org/

Q: Why isn’t the serogroup B vaccine recommended the same way the quadrivalent vaccine is?

A: Serogroup B meningococcal disease is very rare, and because the vaccines are new, we don’t know exactly how long their protection will last or if they will protect against every case of serogroup B disease. That being said, it is possible that the CDC will reconsider a routine recommendation in the future. NMA will continue to advocate for broader recommendation for the serogroup B vaccine.

Q: Does insurance cover the serogroup B vaccine?

A: Health plans will be required to cover serogroup B meningococcal disease vaccines beginning October 23, 2016, but many insurers will begin covering the vaccines before that date.

Note: The Vaccines for Children program (VFC) will provide vaccines at no cost to children who might not be vaccinated due to an inability to pay. VFC will cover the cost of the serogroup B vaccine for children ages 16 through 18 years old, or who are 10 through 18 years old and are identified at being at increased risk of developing meningitis B.

 

70 Percent of Teens Need the Meningitis Booster

13 Nov

This week, several public health and medical organizations published a call-to-action urging doctors to recommend and administer the meningococcal A, C, W and Y booster dose recommended at age 16.

The booster dose is recommended for all teens at age 16 because the protection they received from the first dose begins to wear off over time. It’s critical that kids receive the booster to protect them during the ages when they are at highest risk of meningococcal disease.

Currently, less than 30 percent of first-dose recipients have received the booster. This means that about 70 percent of teens remain unprotected. We must improve this rate, and we know a doctor’s recommendation is a key factor in making sure our children are fully protected.

NMA applauds the efforts of these organizations and reminds all healthcare professionals and parents that when teens receive the A, C, W and Y booster dose, they should also talk to their doctor about getting the serogroup B vaccine!

Below is an excerpt followed by a link to the full call-to-action letter.

Dear Colleague:

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College Health Association (ACHA), Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) urge you and your fellow healthcare professionals to strongly recommend and administer the second (booster) dose of meningococcal ACWY vaccine (MenACWY or “MCV4”) at age 16.

MCV4 was developed to prevent meningococcal disease resulting from infection with serogroups A, C, W, or Y. Meningococcal disease is devastating and debilitating, with a staggering 10–15% case fatality rate.

In May 2005, CDC’s Advisory Committee on ImmunizationPractices (ACIP) published its recommendation to vaccinate all 11–12 year olds with MCV4. In 2006, only 11.7% of adolescents 13–17 years of age had received a dose of MCV4; by 2013, 1-dose coverage in children 13 years of age had grown to an impressive 78.0%.

In January 2011, ACIP recommended that a second (booster) dose of MCV4 be given at age 16 in order to enhance protection in the period of greatest vulnerability to meningococcal disease – 16 to 21 years of age.

Unfortunately, more than four years after this recommendation was published, the 2-dose coverage rate for MCV4 in 17-year-olds is only 28.5%.By vaccinating fewer than 1 in 3 eligible teens, we are leaving millions of young adults without the protection they need.

A provider’s endorsement of vaccination has long been recognized as a key factor in improving immunization rates.

You are therefore in a perfect position to improve coverage by offering a strong, unequivocal recommendation for vaccination with a second dose of MCV4. We urge you to take advantage of opportunities to vaccinate during all patient encounters, including well visits, camp and sports physicals, visits for acute or chronic illness, and visits for other recommended immunizations. Additional ideas for improving your rates are available at www.Give2MCV4.org.

Read more here: http://www.immunize.org/letter/letter_promoting_meningococcal_vaccination.pdf

#VaccinesSaveBro Photo Contest Winner on Why She Vaccinates Her Son

5 Nov

Throughout August and September, clothing designer Wire and Honey donated a percentage of proceeds from “Vaccines Save, Bro” T-Shirt sales to the National Meningitis Association! 

During this time, NMA held a photo contest – anyone who shared a photo of themselves or a loved one in a T-shirt by posting it to NMA’s Facebook page was entered. We announced the winner, Chrystal Light, a pediatric nurse who entered a photo of her adorable son Dylan, age two, at the end of September. We chatted with Chrystal about what inspires her to support vaccination. 

Crystal

Q. What inspired you to enter the contest? How did you find out about it?
A. I found out about the contest through Wire and Honey’s Instagram account. The message is definitely something I stand behind, so I took a really cute pic of my son and it worked out!

Q. What experiences have you had as a pediatric nurse that have encouraged you to support vaccination?

A. I have taken care of patients who are immunocompromised and aren’t always able to receive vaccines on schedule. I believe in the importance of what we call “herd immunity,” where everyone gets vaccinated to help protect others who can’t be. This protects them from the diseases that they can’t get vaccines for – from chicken pox to measles mumps and rubella.

Q. What would you say to people who are hesitant about vaccinating their kids?

A. Usually in a nice way, especially on social media, I try to point them to the latest research. We see families in the hospital who don’t vaccinate their children, and we usually refer them to a doctor, who will explain why it is so important that they stick to the vaccine schedule.

Q. How would you suggest parents stay on top of their kids’ vaccination schedules?

  • Make sure they see their pediatricians when they’re supposed to, which is usually timed to coincide with their vaccinations.
  • Make sure they stay on top of CDC’s schedules of recommended vaccinations.
  • Keep up-to-date immunization cards for their children.

Congratulations, Chrystal! Thank you for helping us to raise awareness about life-saving vaccines!