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

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