Meningitis B Vaccine – A New Vaccine For Teenagers


Photo by NIAID

Photo by NIAID

At Legacy Pediatrics we have started giving the new Meningitis B vaccine to teenagers beginning at age 16 years old. Three doses will be needed to complete the immunization series. The doses are to be given spread out with the second dose about 2 months after the first dose and a third dose at least 6 months after the first dose. This is the same schedule as the HPV vaccine for boys and girls that prevents cervical and vaginal cancer in girls, and anal cancer, some head/neck cancers, and genital warts in both boys and girls.

For many years Legacy Pediatrics has been giving a meningitis vaccine for 4 other strains of the Meningococcus bacteria, which is called Menactra. That vaccine contained 4 ingredients called A, C, Y and W135 corresponding to those 4 strains of the bacteria. We have been waiting for the Meningitis B vaccine for almost a decade and are excited it is finally here as it now allows us to prevent this additional strain of meningococcus from causing infections.

Most will remember the outbreak of Meningitis B at Princeton University last year. This vaccine was allowed to be used to break the epidemic on campus, even though it was not approved by the FDA last year. An exception was made since the FDA was nearing the end of its process of approval when the outbreak occurred.

We are especially proud to give all the meningitis vaccines in our practice because as many of you may know, Dr. Pichichero was on the discovery team of the first meningitis vaccine called the Hib vaccine. And that vaccine was first tested in Rochester NY in clinical studies led by him, leading to FDA approval. Then Dr. Pichichero went on to test the early versions of Prevnar vaccine as the second meningitis vaccine to be used for children. Again, that vaccine was first tested in Rochester NY in clinical studies led by him, leading to FDA approval. The third meningitis vaccine was Menactra. While Dr. Pichichero was not an “inventor” of that vaccine, Legacy Pediatrics led the national testing of that vaccine and Dr. Pichichero was the lead author in the main publication on the effectiveness of Menactra, with the paper appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).