FDA expands age range for meningitis vaccine

WASHINGTON Parents can ease their worries about their children contracting meningitis.

The FDA announced this week that they have broadened the age range of Sanofi Pasteur’s bacterial meningitis vaccine Menactra for children ages 2 to 10.

Menactra (meningococcal [groups A, C, Y and W-135] polysaccharide diphtheria toxoid conjugate vaccine) is the only conjugate vaccine licensed in the U.S. to prevent meningococcal disease. The vaccine was approved originally in 2005 to immunize patients ages 11 to 55.

Sanofi Pasteur’s Menomune vaccine was previously the only meningococcal vaccine available in the U.S. for children ages 2 and older.

The vaccines protect against four of the five most common serogroups of the bacteria that cause meningococcal infection. Approximately half of meningitis cases in children ages 2 to 5 and two-thirds of cases in children ages 6 to 11 can be prevented through vaccination, according to University of Rochester Medical Center professor Michael Pichichero.

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