By Joyce Frieden, News Editor, MedPage Today
WASHINGTON — The FDA has approved the first meningococcal vaccine for use in toddlers and infants as young as nine months of age.
The vaccine, called Menactra, is already approved for use in people ages 2 through 55 for prevention of invasive meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroups A, C, Y and W-135. Another meningococcal vaccine, Novartis’s Menveo, also is approved for use in this older group.
Although meningococcal rates are low in the U.S., infants and toddlers are particularly susceptible to the disease, the FDA noted in a press release issued Friday.
[Note from SaneVax: Menactra was FDA approved for use in 2005 for ages 11 to 55. Two years later, the FDA lowered the approved age for those between 2 years old and 55. Now the age is again reduced to cover infants at nine months old receiving their first injection. All for a disease that though dangerous, is ‘relatively rare’ in the United States.
In 2005, when Menactra was originally FDA approved the recommendations for use were to vaccinate at age 11. If not vaccinated previously with Menactra, it was also recommended that adolescents receive this vaccine either prior to entering high school, or prior to entering college. Additional recommendations included various high risk groups such as military personnel and overseas travelers.
In 2007, the recommended age for initial Menactra vaccination was reduced to the age of 2 years. 2010, information was released by the CDC indicating Menactra vaccine efficacy waned after only 5 years. The report above indicates even further age reduction to nine months old. To the average medical consumer, that means according to the CDC booster shots will be required every five or six years to maintain immunity.
At current government vaccine prices, let’s presume the original recommendations issued in 2005 required one booster shot sometime during the patient’s lifetime. That would have made the taxpayer cost for protection against vaccine relevant meningitis approximately $164.00 per person.
With the vaccine efficacy reduced to five years, and the initial vaccination age reduced to nine months the same ‘protection’ would require 11 doses up to the maximum recommended age of 55 years old at a cost of $903.00 per person. In the six short years since Menactra was approved – the cost for ‘protection’ has increased by approximately $739/per person. That doesn’t sound like much until you multiply it by the approximate population of the United States – 310 million – you will come up with an increase in revenue of approximately $229 billion. Not bad for a product that has been on the market for six years.]