I have two children—one is in high school and the other is in college.
It’s time for the older one to leave her pediatrician and connect with an adult doctor. But before waving goodbye to her childhood medical home, I asked her pediatrician to immunize both girls against meningitis B.
We can’t easily prevent all cases of meningitis, but there are vaccines to stop infections from certain germs.
We have good vaccines that protect against several strains of bacterial meningitis, but until recently, we didn’t have any approved vaccines to protect against meningitis B.
This strain has caused outbreaks at colleges around the country because the young people aren’t protected.
In the US, we now have approved vaccines for use against meningitis B. They require two or three doses, depending on which one you use.
Because the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) doesn’t yet recommend that all young people be immunized against meningitis B, the girls’ pediatrician doesn’t stock the vaccine in her office.
When I told her I wanted the girls protected, she ordered it and we received a call from her office after a few days, telling us it was in.
I also checked with my insurance company to make sure they would cover the cost of the vaccine, and they said yes. That was a relief! The price to fully vaccinate both girls would be a hit to my pocketbook.
After vaccination, the girls complained of sore arms for a couple of days, and we go back in a few weeks for a second shot, but I have to say, it’s a load off of my mind and I’ll be happy when they’re fully protected.
We’re lucky that insurance covers the vaccine, and that we have insurance.
It’s worth a call to your older child’s healthcare provider to see if he or she has received the meningitis B vaccine. If not, please get your child protected against this rare and awful disease. You know the old saying: Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
By Trish Parnell