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Vaccines > MCV4
Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine
ACIP Recommendation

Meningococcal (Groups A, C, Y and W-135) Conjugate Vaccine (MCV-4)

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ACIP Recommends Meningococcal Vaccine for Adolescents and College Freshmen

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine vaccination of young adolescents with MCV4 at the pre-adolescent visit (11-12 year old). Introducing a recommendation for MCV4 vaccination in young adolescents (11-12 years old) may strengthen the role of the pre-adolescent visit and have a positive effect on vaccine coverage in adolescence. ACIP recommends that young adolescents see a healthcare provider at age 11-12 for a routine preventive visit, at which time appropriate immunizations and other preventive services should be provided. For those who have not previously received MCV4, we recommend vaccination before high school entry (~15 years old) as the most effective strategy towards reducing meningococcal disease incidence in adolescence and young adulthood. Within 3 years, the goal is routine vaccination with MCV4 of all adolescents beginning at 11 years of age. ACIP recognizes that vaccine supply may be an issue in the first few years after licensure of MCV4. Other adolescents who wish to decrease their risk of meningococcal disease may elect to receive vaccine.

College freshman who live in dormitories are at higher risk for meningococcal disease compared to other people of the same age. Because of the feasibility constraints in targeting freshmen in dormitories, colleges may elect to target their vaccination campaigns to all matriculating freshmen. The risk for meningococcal disease among non-freshmen college students is similar to that for the general population of similar age (18-24 years). However, the vaccines are safe and immunogenic and therefore can be provided to non-freshmen college students who want to reduce their risk for meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal disease is caused by bacteria that infect the bloodstream and the linings of the brain and spinal cord, causing serious illness. Every year in the United States, 1,400 to 2,800 people get meningococcal disease. Ten to 14 percent of people with meningococcal disease die, and 11-19 percent of survivors have permanent disabilities (such as mental retardation, hearing loss, and loss of limbs). The disease often begins with symptoms that can be mistaken for common illnesses, such as the flu. Meningococcal disease is particularly dangerous because it progresses rapidly and can kill within hours.

“Disease caused by meningococcal bacteria kills about 300 people each year in the United States. We are encouraged that today’s ACIP recommendation will help to prevent this potentially deadly disease among adolescents” said Dr. Stephen Cochi, Acting Director of the National Immunization Program at CDC.

The vaccine is highly effective. However, it does not protect people against meningococcal disease caused by “type B” bacteria. This type of bacteria causes one-third of meningococcal cases. More than half of the cases among infants aged <1 year are caused by “type B,” for which no vaccine is available in the United States. The new meningococcal vaccine was licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on January 14, 2005 for use in people 11-55 years of age. It is manufactured by sanofi pasteur and is marketed as Menactra™.

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This page last modified on July 18, 2006
Content last reviewed on March 9, 2005




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