News from the FDA/CDC

ACIP approves meningococcal booster for persons at increased risk



A booster dose of meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine is necessary to sustain protection for persons aged 10 years and older at increased risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

A child receives a vaccine injection. Choreograph/Thinkstock

The committee voted unanimously in favor of a booster dose of MenB vaccine 1 year after completion of the primary series, with additional boosters every 2-3 years “for as long as risk remains” for high-risk persons, including microbiologists and persons with complement deficiency, complement inhibitor use, or asplenia.

The committee also voted unanimously in favor of a one-time MenB booster for individuals aged 10 years and older who are at least a year beyond completion of a MenB primary series and deemed at increased risk by public health officials in an outbreak situation.

In addition, “a booster dose interval of 6 months or more may be considered by public health officials depending on the specific outbreak, vaccine strategy, and projected duration of elevated risk” according to the language, which was included in the unanimously approved statement “Meningococcal Vaccination: Recommendations of The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.”

The updated statement on meningococcal vaccination was developed in 2019 “to consolidate all existing ACIP recommendations for MenACWY and MenB vaccines in a single document,” said Sarah Mbaeyi, MD, of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, who presented immunogenicity data and the proposed recommendations.

The statement includes the recommendation of a MenB primary series for individuals aged 16-23 years based on shared clinical decision making. Kelly Moore, MD, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., noted the importance of ongoing data collection, and said clinicians must make clear to patients that, “if they want protection, they need the booster.”

Approximately 7% of serogroup B cases in the United States are related to disease outbreaks, mainly among college students, Dr. Mbaeyi said. All 13 universities that experienced outbreaks between 2013 and 2019 have implemented a MenB primary series, and one university has implemented an off-label booster program.

The work group concluded that a MenB booster dose is necessary to sustain protection against serogroup B disease in persons at increased risk during an outbreak, and that the potential benefits outweighed the harms given the seriousness of meningococcal disease.

Paul Hunter, MD, of the City of Milwaukee Health Department, noted that “the booster recommendation gives more flexibility” in an outbreak response.

The committee also voted unanimously to approve the Vaccines for Children resolution for the meningococcal vaccine that updates language to align with the new recommendations.

The ACIP members had no financial conflicts to disclose.

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