Help Us Support Meningococcal Prevention
NMA first posted the letter below in anticipation of the June 24th meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) where they were scheduled to discuss recommendations for the recently approved serogroup B meningococcal vaccines. By the time of the meeting we had collected nearly 1,250 signatures and more than 500 comments (which you can read here) in support of broad recommendations.
NMA is pleased that ACIP voted for permissive use of serogroup B meningococcal vaccines for adolescents 16 to 23 years of age, with a preferred age of 16 to 18. This recommendation allows older teens, young adults and parents to make a decision about meningococcal B prevention, in collaboration with their healthcare providers. It also paves the way for coverage of the vaccine by private and public health insurance, including the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC).
While we were hoping for a routine recommendation, it was a significant step forward in helping to protect older adolescents and young adults from serogroup B disease. NMA will continue advocacy efforts towards a routine recommendation. We encourage you to show your support by adding your name to this letter.
Members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices:
For young adults, the future is full of hope and infinite possibilities. Meningococcal disease shouldn’t be one of them.
We are writing to you because we or someone we know has been touched by this disease, or because we recognize the terrible impact this disease has on those affected. Those of us who were affected by serogroup B disease did not have the opportunity to protect ourselves or our loved ones.
This disease can strike so quickly and can be indescribably devastating. One day someone is healthy and then the next day he’s fighting for his life. You’ve heard from many people who have lost loved ones or who have survived but will be dealing with the impact of the illness for the rest of their lives. There are many more whose stories haven’t been told. In recent years it has also become clear how even one case in a college setting has major repercussions as many colleges have had to deal with cases and even outbreaks of serogroup B on campus. Prevention is critical.
The majority of people want to protect themselves and their children from meningitis; nearly 80% of U.S. teens receive their first dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine. But that is not enough. Many people think that they or their children are fully protected by the currently recommended meningococcal vaccines. Others are asking their doctors for the B vaccine and are being told that it is not available or are having difficulty getting it.
Now that meningitis B vaccines are available, we urge you to do the right thing. We urge you to recommend routine vaccination against serogroup B meningococcal disease, making it easy for all of us to protect our teens.