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February 8, 2023

In The News: Meningococcal Vaccine 76% Effective for Kids Under 5, Study Says

In a recent article, Medpage Today shares results from a Spanish matched case-control study into four-component, protein-based meningococcal serogroup B vaccine efficacy in preventing invasive serogroup B and non-serogroup B disease among children under five years of age. The study authors note their evidence may be useful to countries where invasive meningococcal disease in children is problematic and their decisions into including the vaccine in their respective immunization programs.

The study reported complete vaccination reached 76% effectiveness against invasive meningococcal disease caused by any serogroup and 54% effectiveness in children who received one vaccine dose. Broken down by serogroup, complete vaccination was 71% effective against serogroup B and 92% effective against non-serogroup B disease. For partial vaccination, the effectiveness was 50% against serogroup B and 58% against non-serogroup B.

The research group noted that previous studies looked into effectiveness against invasive disease caused by meningococcal serogroups outside of B and explain the vaccine components are not unique to serogroup B. Previous studies had looked into the effectiveness in serogroup W and on serogroup C, W, and Y isolates. Serogroups B, C, and Y are the most common in Europe and North America. Study authors note that higher socioeconomic status is linked to a lower incidence of meningococcal diseases.

PIDS member Tina Tan provided a comment on the story, saying “The study published by Castilla and colleagues in the New England Journal of Medicine on the ‘Effectiveness of a Meningococcal Group B vaccine (4CMenB) in Children’ is very interesting and shows how one or more doses of the vaccine can provide excellent cross protective effectiveness against other non-serogroup B meningococcal serotypes for which the vaccine is not specifically targeted. This vaccine seems to provide higher vaccine effectiveness against non-serogroup B disease. The study has some limitations with small sample size, retrospective design, and use in a selected higher socioeconomic population being the major ones. Development of a study in a large general, diverse population is needed to determine if these findings can be proven. If it can be shown that one or more doses of this vaccine is protective against all meningococcal serotypes, there is great potential for inclusion of this type of vaccine in a recommended infant and childhood immunization schedule to provide protection against meningococcal disease in the pediatric population.”

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