Support for routine introduction of Meningitis B vaccines in the US

23 June 2015

On June 24, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will be meeting to discuss the recommendations for the Meningitis B vaccines in the US. In a meeting held in February of this year the CDC agreed to provide vaccines to those most at risk. This meeting will consider making these vaccines routine for adolescents.

CoMO will be presenting a letter to the committee to show our support for the routine use of these vaccines. The letter we will be presenting can be read below. If you have any questions or comments regarding this statement please email our admin and marketing officer: samanthar@meningitis.org.

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June 24, 2015

To the members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP):

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to making our world better by advancing sound immunization practices to protect your citizens against preventable illness and death.  The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) joins with you in that goal, and is dedicated to preventing meningitis globally by ensuring families worldwide have access to early diagnosis, preventative measures, and quick treatment. 

Approximately one-third of meningococcal disease cases in adolescents in the US are caused by serogroup B. Adolescents and young adults have the highest incidence of carriage in all age groups and are most vulnerable. They also interact with siblings and put younger children and babies at risk in the roles of helpers and babysitters. Please use your knowledge, the evidence, and your power to help us prevent meningitis from affecting others by recommending a routine vaccination against serogroup B meningococcal disease, making true and broad protection for teens a reality.  We need you to take this step to fully cover the majority of people who want to protect themselves and their children from meningitis which, as you know, can kill or disable in hours. 

In essence, our goal is to prevent meningitis worldwide because we can and we should. As individual members of CoMO, we unfortunately know first-hand the devastating effects of meningitis. Imagine losing your child or watching them become disabled for life to a vaccine-preventable disease, knowing that a vaccine was available. Although meningitis cases are relatively rare when compared to other diseases, the effects have been devastating to many. No one can put a price on the life of a human being, especially a child with the potential for a bright future. 

We applaud the action taken by health authorities in the UK and Canada to protect the vitality and possibility of teenagers and young adults in their nations. Surely if there is help at hand, you would take this step? CoMO strongly urges you and your ACIP colleagues to follow the path created by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in recommending the meningococcal B vaccine. Our children and young people deserve a full and fighting chance to live long and healthy lives.

Together, we must Join Hands Against Meningitis. We – the 43 member organisations of CoMO and in particular the 8 US-based organisations – are counting on you.

Thank you,

The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations