Meningococcal disease is currently at an all-time low in the United States of America. Since the 1990s the rates of this type of disease have been declining. Most of the decline was seen before meningococcal conjugate vaccines were routinely used. Additionally, the rates of serogroup B meningococcal disease have declined steadily even though the vaccines for this strain were not available until the late part of 2014.
Among people aged eleven through nineteen the rates of the disease caused by serogroups W, Y, and C have seen an 80 percent decrease since this age group was first recommended to get vaccinated. Declines of this magnitude were not seen in other age groups who were not getting the vaccine routinely. This data suggests that the vaccines provide protection for those who are vaccinated, but not for those who do not get the vaccinations. Here are some other things that you should know about the meningococcal vaccine.
1. Effectiveness of the Vaccines
In order for the vaccine to be licensed it had to be shown that both the serogroup B and conjugate vaccines produce an immune response to show that they are protective. While both vaccines have shown this, there is not much data to show how well the vaccines work to protect against the disease. Since the meningococcal disease is rare, there needs to be a lot of people vaccinated before the effectiveness is measured on a grander scale.
Data suggests that the protection offered by the meningococcal conjugate vaccines will decrease within teens in just 5 years. This highlights why it is important to get the booster dose at age sixteen so that teens remain protected during the ages that they are most at risk for the disease. Early data from the serogroup B vaccines shows that protective antibodies decrease quickly after a person has been vaccinated.