Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Senator Mario Scavello introduced Senate Bill 797 on May 28th that would require all students to receive a meningococcal booster in the 7th and 12th grades.  This bill has been referred to the Education Committee. 

Did you know?

·         Meningococcal Disease is very rare in the United States.[1]

·         At any given time, up to 20 to 40% of the population is asymptomatically colonizing meningococcal organisms in our nasal passages and throats, which boosts our innate immunity to invasive bacterial infection.[2] [3]

·         It is not easy to develop invasive meningococcal disease.[4]

·         By the time American children enter adolescence, the vast majority have asymptomatically developed immunity that protects them.

·         There are 5 distinct different types of meningitis.[5]

·         The CDC recommended meningococcal vaccine contains only one type, bacterial. 

·         Only 4 bacterial strains are covered (A, C, W-35, Y) in the vaccine.[6] 

·         The vaccine does not contain strain B, which is the strain associated with more than 50% of the meningococcal cases and deaths.[7]

·         The vaccine only has an 80-85% efficacy rate.[8]

·         The vaccine has been found to be, at best, only about 58% effective in adolescents within 2-5 years after receiving it.[9] [10]

·         Symptoms of meningococcal disease include: fever; severe headache; painful, stiff neck; nausea and vomiting; inability to look at bright lights; mental confusion and irritability; extreme fatigue/sleepiness; convulsions and unconsciousness.  

·         PA currently mandates 25 doses of 12 vaccines.[11]

·         The Meningococcal vaccine is currently available to anyone who would like to use it.

There are several concerns with this bill as it seeks to mandate another vaccine requirement for our school-aged children.  This mandate would violate informed medical consent and parental rights to decide what is best for our children’s care and overall well-being.

Given the information stated above, this bill is not necessary for the overall health of our adolescents.  Please contact the members of the Senate Education Committee to share your concerns regarding this bill.

[1] www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/downloads/interim-guidance.pdfEndFragment   
[2] Tan L KK, Cadone GM, Borrow R. Advances in the development of vaccines against Neisseria meningitidis. NEJM April 22, 2010; 362(16): 1511-1520.
[3] Manchanda V. Gupta S., Bhalla P. Meningococcal Disease: History, Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Clinical Manifestations, Diagnosis, Antiomicrobial Susceptibility and Prevention. Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology 2006; 24(1): 7-19
[4] CDC. Meningitis Questions & Answers.
[5] http://www.musa.org/faq
[6] CDC.Meningococcal Disease and College Students. MMWR June 30, 2000; 48(RR07): 11-20.
[7] Granoff DM. Review of Meningococcal Group B Vaccines. Clinical Infectious Diseases
[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21206392
[9] CDC. Updated Recommendations for Use of Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccines – ACIP, 2010. JAMA 2011; 305(13): 1291-1293.
[10] Cohn A. Epidemiology of Meningococcal Disease in the U.S. Presentation to the FDA Vaccines & Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC). Transcript of April 6, 2011 Meeting. Pg 55-59.

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