CDC considering adding meningococcal vaccine to childhood vaccine schedule

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices plans to examine the possibility of adding the meningococcal vaccine for infants into its regular childhood vaccine schedule.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new meningococcal vaccine that has proven safe for infants and is on track to approve others soon. The vaccines began development nearly a decade ago after the CDC and its ACIP called for a push to eradicate the rare, but often deadly, disease, according to

At first, the United States appeared to be following the British example. In the United Kingdom, mass vaccinations have nearly eradicated the disease.

Public health officials in Washington and Atlanta, the home of the CDC, seem to be reconsidering their position, however, based, at least in part, on an analysis of the cost-effectiveness of the vaccine.

Historically, the CDC has always chosen to recommend childhood vaccines that have been FDA approved, but in this case, the ACIP is moving cautiously. The CDC has called for a mid-June “community engagement meeting” to be held in New Hampshire to discuss the issues surrounding potential access to the new infant meningococcal vaccines.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Bacterial meningitis is particularly dangerous and may result in brain damage or hearing loss, according to the CDC.