The Heartland Institute has been diligently following the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice’s (ACIP) decision on whether to recommend meningitis vaccination for infants. With three different meningitis vaccines under consideration, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) held four “public” meetings “to gather public opinion” on the topic. The ACIP is expected to make a decision within the next few months.
In the meantime, however, the ACIP has come out with a recommendation for a different meningitis vaccine for infants, MenACWY-D. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this 2-dose vaccine for all infants between the ages of 9 and 23 months. However, the ACIP has decided to limit the availability of this drug, recommending it only for infants with “certain risk factors” or those who are at “high risk” of developing the illness. (A ACIP recommendation directly affects how available a vaccine will be on the market.)
The ACIP defined “high risk” as children “with persistent complement component deficiencies,” those who are traveling to or from countries where meningitis is “hyperendemic or epidemic,” or those in “a defined risk group during a community or institutional outbreak.”
So, once there is an outbreak of meningitis, then children should be vaccinated… what happened to preaching for preventative care?
Without a full ACIP recommendation, access to the vaccine is restricted, and parents are robbed of that decision – all while millions of infants go without protection from a deadly disease.
Parents, under guidance from a physician, should be able to decide whether they feel their child is at enough “risk” of developing the disease to warrant vaccination.
Heartland Senior Fellow Richard Dolinar, M.D. will be writing an in-depth article on this topic in the weeks to come.