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Updated Recommendations for Meningococcal Vaccine

(News release from Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health)

(Mason City) ñ Recently the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) approved updated recommendations for the use of meningococcal vaccines in adolescents and persons at high risk for meningococcal disease, the leading cause of bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is an infection of the brain, spinal cord coverings and can also cause blood infections.

It is now recommended that adolescents receive the vaccine around 11-12 years, with an additional booster dose at age 16 years. The goal of this new recommendation is to protect persons aged 16 through 21 years, when meningococcal disease rates peak.

According to the ACIP, vaccinating adolescents with a single dose is no longer the best strategy for protection through age 21 years. It is indicated that many adolescents might not be protected for more than five years. By receiving the initial dose at the 11 or 12 year preventive-care visit and then receiving the booster at age 16, it is expected that adolescents will be protected though the entire period of increased risk.

“It is not uncommon for us to see recommended booster doses in vaccines that used to be given as just a single dose,” stated Karen Crimmings, Disease Prevention and Investigation Service Manager at the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health. “We saw similar indication changes with the chickenpox vaccine back in 2006.”

The cost of the Meningococcal vaccine is $120 per dose. Free vaccine is available through the Vaccine for Children Program for eligible children through the age of 18.

The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health Immunization Clinic is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM- Noon and 12:30- 4:00 PM. Extended clinic hours are offered on the first Monday of each month: 10:00 AM- Noon and 12:30- 6:30 PM. No appointment is necessary.
The clinic is located at 22 N. Georgia Ave. Suite 300, on the third floor of Mohawk Square, downtown Mason City. If you have questions about the vaccine or the free vaccine program eligibility guidelines, call the clinic at 641-421-9321 or visit www.cghealth.com.|

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