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Teens Should Get Meningitis Booster Shot: CDC Panel
Date:10/27/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Teenagers should get a booster shot of the vaccine that protects against bacterial meningitis, a U.S. health advisory panel recommended Wednesday.

The panel made the recommendation because the vaccine appears not to last as long as previously thought.

In 2007, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that the meningitis vaccine -- usually given to college freshman -- be offered to 11 and 12 year olds, the Associated Press reported. The vaccine was initially aimed at high school and college students because bacterial meningitis is more dangerous for teens and can spread easily in crowded settings, such as dorm rooms.

At that time the panel thought the vaccine would be effective for at least 10 years. But, information presented at the panel's meeting Wednesday showed the vaccine is effective for less than five years.

The panel then decided to recommend that teens should get a booster shot at 16.

Although the CDC is not bound by its advisory panels' recommendations, the agency usually adopts them. However, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration official, Norman Baylor, said more studies about the safety and effectiveness of a second dose of the vaccine are needed, the AP reported.

Some at the meeting wondered if it was even necessary to make such a decision. Cases of bacterial meningitis are at historic lows, and a survey of more than 200 colleges and universities -- representing more than 2 million students -- in the last academic year found 11 cases of bacterial meningitis and three deaths, the AP reported.

In a news release issued after the vote, the National Meningitis Association said it "supports [the] decision to maintain meningococcal immunization at age 11-12 and to add a booster dose to provide increased prevention of
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