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Low Awareness of Meningitis B Vaccine Among U.S. Physicians Caring for Adolescents

Mother, teen, and doctor talking using tablet. Mother, teen, and doctor talking using tablet.

In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that adolescents and young adults ages 16 to 23 years old be vaccinated with serogroup B meningococcal vaccine based on individual physician suggestions (Category B recommendation). 

The American Academy of Pediatrics and others supported this recommendation. Researchers were interested to see how physicians are administering and discussing meningococcal B vaccination under these recommendations.

A study in the September 2018 issue of Pediatrics, "Adoption of Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccine Recommendations", surveyed pediatricians and family practitioners between October and December of 2016 to see if they discussed or recommended the vaccine to patients. During routine visits, 51 percent of pediatricians and 31 percent of family practitioners always or often discussed meningococcal B vaccination. Among those who had these discussions, 91 percent recommended vaccination.

The researchers noted that physicians who had greater awareness of meningitis outbreaks in their area were more likely to discuss the vaccine, while physicians with a lower awareness of outbreaks, or who worked in an HMO setting were less likely to recommend the vaccine. 

The study authors conclude that lack of knowledge about serogroup B meningococcal disease or awareness of the meningococcal B vaccine may be a primary reason for not discussing the vaccine. They conclude increasing physician education of this disease and vaccination may help to increase vaccination rates.

Additional Information from HealthyChildren.org:

Published
8/20/2018 12:00 AM
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