Updated
September 17th, 2018

‘16-Vaccine’ Initiative Increases MenACWY 2nd Dose Awareness

MenACWY vaccine second dose recommended by CDC at age 16

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Vaccination is the best defense against meningococcal meningitis, yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50 percent of U.S. teens have not yet received the recommended 2nd dose of meningococcal meningitis vaccine.

To address this shortcoming, the National Meningitis Association (NMA) launched a new educational initiative about the importance of the CDC’s recommended meningococcal meningitis vaccine (MenACWY) for adolescents at age 16.

The 16-Vaccine.org initiative aims to educate parents about the importance of this critical 2nd dose of the MenACWY vaccine.

Anyone at any age can contract meningococcal meningitis, but teens and young adults between 16 and 23 years of age are among those with an increased risk of infection, likely due to common lifestyles and behaviors among this age group, such as living or socializing in crowded conditions.

Leslie Maier, Secretary-Treasurer of the NMA, said in a press release, “Some parents are aware of the primary dose of MenACWY vaccine at 11-12 years of age, but they don’t know CDC recommends a second dose at age 16.”

At the ‘16 Vaccine.org’ campaign website, parents can sign up for a text reminder alert when it’s time to schedule an appointment for their teen’s 16-year vaccine visit.

Although rare, the Meningococcal disease is a serious and potentially deadly illness caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. There are numerous serogroups (types) of Neisseria meningitidis.

Serogroups B, C, and Y currently cause the majority of disease in the United States, says the CDC.

The bacteria that cause the infection can spread when people have contact with a carrier’s saliva, such as through kissing, coughing and sharing beverages. It develops rapidly and can cause death in 10-15 percent of cases.  

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Among survivors, as many as 20 percent live with permanent disabilities, including hearing loss, brain damage, kidney damage, or limb amputations.

“I knew bacterial meningitis was a potentially deadly disease, but I didn’t think it would ever affect me until it did. Looking back on my time in the hospital and the long recovery, I wish I could go back, reverse time and gotten the shot,” said Krystle Beauchamp Grindley, meningitis disease survivor, and NMA advocate.

“As someone who was fortunate enough to survive bacterial meningitis, I encourage every parent to talk to their teen’s doctor, nurse or pharmacist about getting the critical second vaccine dose of MenACWY at 16.”

Most pharmacies in the USA offer vaccination services.

Vaccine prices vary and can be researched at this CDC site. To research vaccine discounts, please visit this page.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.

The National Meningitis Association works to protect families from the potentially devastating effects of the meningococcal disease by educating the public, medical professionals and others about the disease and its prevention. Visit NMA at www.nmaus.org.