Updated guidance on the meningococcal conjugate vaccine from the American Academy of Pediatrics includes the recommendation that 16-year-olds receive a booster dose.
The policy statement, “Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccines Policy Update: Booster Dose Recommendations,” published in the December 2011 Pediatrics (published online Nov. 28), recommends adolescents be routinely immunized at 11 or 12 years of age, and receive a booster dose at age 16.
This booster is reflected in the current 2011 immunization schedule for adolescents; the policy statement provides explicit guidance for the pediatrician. Adolescents who receive their first dose of meningococcal vaccine at or after 16 years of age do not need a booster dose.
Additional booster recommendations are included in the policy statement for children who received the vaccine earlier due to certain health conditions and who are at increased risk of disease. The booster dose at age 16 is needed to protect adolescents during their period of high vulnerability.