Debate: Routine meningitis vaccines for infants?

[SaneVax: Health authorities in the United States are currently debating whether to administer a new meningococcol vaccine to those infants at high risk for the disease, or add it to the routine immunization schedule and give it to all infants, whether they are likely to contract the disease or not. Listen to both sides of the debate below.]

Carol J. Baker, MD, professor of pediatrics, molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, discusses her debate with Stephen B. Black, MD, in which she defends the position that routine infant immunization with the meningococcal conjugate vaccine should not be recommended in the United States.

During the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, Baker cites several components including the rarity of meningococcal incidence in the US, cost-effectiveness, as well as the difficulty in implementing routine infant immunization programs. However, Baker does advocate the administration of the meningococcal vaccine for infants who are at high risk.

Steven B. Black, MD, professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, discusses his debate with Carol J. Baker, MD, in which he argues that infant immunization with the meningococcal conjugate vaccine should be given in the United States, here at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting.

Black highlights that the annual incidence of child mortality for meningococcal disease in the US is equivalent to the incidence of childhood mortality for pneumococcal disease, for which there are currently vaccination programs in place; furthermore, childhood mortality for meningococcal disease three times higher than for rotavirus which there is also routine infant immunization programs.

 

Please, take the time to listen to both sides of the debate. You cannot make an informed choice without knowing the risks as well as the benefits. This is particularly true if you are a health authority charged with protecting the citizens of your country.

 

 

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