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What are your thoughts on the meningococcal vaccine?


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Dd just turned 11. She won't be recieving the HPV vaccine, but the meningococcal vaccine has been advertised heavily here..... makes me suspicious that it's a similar media blitz to the HPV campaign.

 

Just wondering.....these are things I think about when I'm washing the dog! :001_smile:

 

Astrid

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Last year when my son was 12 he went to camp at the local university. Just a few months before a young woman attended a campus frat party and soon after came down with meningitis. It was a long, horrific battle, and I don't know if they ever figured out where she got it, but I decided that if my son were staying on that campus I wasn't taking any chances.

 

In 2005 I began attending the same campus and the Student Health Center offered me the vaccine.

 

If you can wash the dog and post at the same time, then, You Go, Girl!! I washed our dog outside last night and ended up needing a bath myself!!:001_smile::001_smile:

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Dd just turned 11. She won't be recieving the HPV vaccine, but the meningococcal vaccine has been advertised heavily here..... makes me suspicious that it's a similar media blitz to the HPV campaign.

 

Just wondering.....these are things I think about when I'm washing the dog! :001_smile:

 

Astrid

 

We vaccinate very selectively. My children did not receive the Hib. However, I am seriously considering having them get the meningococcal vaccine as they near the time when they will be going to college.

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I have a friend whose daughter lost both legs due to meningitis so it really really scares me. I taught my son what the symptoms are of meningitis and how to know when to suspect that your friend had that rather than just the flu (we just looked at some websites together).

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Ds11 just got this vaccine. I was surprised that they did it this early (I always associated it with college.) I talked to his doc about it and his view was that (as far as they know) it is a one-time only shot and that younger kids get it too and since the disease is so awful with potential death as a consequence it was worth pushing for me. I waffled a bit but did let him have the shot.

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more than once (thankfully, not the bacterial kind although the symptoms are very similar).

 

My kids WILL DEFINITELY get this vaccine. The pain is beyond comprehenion. If you've ever had a migraine multiply that pain times 10 and you may understand. The pain is not localized either, unlock some migraines, so it feels as if your brain is going to start oozing through every orifice available and quite possibly make some new orifices.

 

A continuous morphine drip for days in the hospital was the only way I got through it. The recovery takes weeks and weeks. I highly recommend the vaccine.

 

HTH.

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We vaccinate very selectively. My children did not receive the Hib. However, I am seriously considering having them get the meningococcal vaccine as they near the time when they will be going to college.

 

We vaccinate very sparingly, but Hib is on the top of our list. Hep B and A we don't do, but it was my understanding that the Hib has eradicated a very dangerous virus. Just wondering what your reasoning was as I am always willing to reconsider if I get solid info on this stuff? Thanks.

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The thing that scares me about meningitis is how rapidly it progresses.

When I was in my early 20s I lost a friend to it.

She went home early one Friday thinking she was coming down with the flu and had died by Sunday afternoon.

 

We are not a family who goes to the doctor right away, and I fear that my sons would not take the symptoms seriously and seek medical care in time.

 

My husband and I recently decided that we would be talking to our doctor about the vaccine when we see him next.

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Since it is an illness that is current and prevalent, we did have ds vaccinated for it. He got it a few years ago because he was attending summer camp.

 

If he didn't go to camp or public school, I would have waited until he went to college but I would have definitely had him get it then.

 

If he was in public school, I would also have him get it. Every year there is an outbreak here in the schools.

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Since it is an illness that is current and prevalent, we did have ds vaccinated for it. He got it a few years ago because he was attending summer camp.

 

If he didn't go to camp or public school, I would have waited until he went to college but I would have definitely had him get it then.

 

If he was in public school, I would also have him get it. Every year there is an outbreak here in the schools.

 

Hmmm, I may have to consider getting it earlier for my young teen DDs.

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Guest Katia

My dd's college wrote to her that they highly recommended she get it, so she just got it two days ago, along with boosters on some of her other vaccines. After reading this thread, I'm SO very glad that she got this, and now I'm thinking I might call and schedule my younger dd to get it since she'll be taking several community college classes this year.

 

Off to find her vaccination record and call the dr.............

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I am (generally) a non-vax'er, and I would definitely give *one* of the two meningitis vaccinations before sending a child to college, or another dorm situation. The "old" vaccine (MPSV4) has been in use since 1981, and the newer one (MCV4) only since 2005. I tend to lean toward the older one because there's a little more history there, but I have *not* done enough research to make a decision for myself, much less recommend one or the other to someone else. But I would do one of the two.

 

On the other hand, I would not use Gardisil.

 

There is no other way to guard against meningitis, and students in dorm situations seem very highly susceptible. Gardisil is newer, with no long-term information, and there are other, more effective ways to prevent the spectrum of HPV and other STDs without the risk of an unproven vaccine.

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Both my girls were selectively vaccinated, and I drove my pediatrician crazy with making him break up certain parts and special orders and long times between vaccinations etc. My point is that I'm leary of vaccinations, yet I see the very positive side to them as well. I am planning on dd getting this shot in about 6 months, I simply do not want to have her face meningitis.

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Luckily my son was young and made a quick turn around, but the photophobia (light sensitivity) is awful. Plus, his personality (usually quiet and docile) completely changed. It was not good. Luckily, we were close to Texas Children's at the time and could use that AWESOME hospital!

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We vaccinate very sparingly, but Hib is on the top of our list. Hep B and A we don't do, but it was my understanding that the Hib has eradicated a very dangerous virus. Just wondering what your reasoning was as I am always willing to reconsider if I get solid info on this stuff? Thanks.

 

I ask every pediatrician or family doc we have what they consider to be the *most* important vaccines. Every single one has given me a different answer.

 

Our ped for my last three babies at first did not list Hib as one of his "definitely give this one" vaccines. He was of the opinion that since my kids were homeschooled, and at those ages we didn't do many outside activities, the risk was very low of one of my kids getting meningitis.

 

Funnily enough, a few years later, when I asked him again about the most important vaccines, Hib *was* on his list. My babies were all past the most dangerous point, though.

 

Anyway - we wanted to give as few vaccines as possible during the very young years, and we believed that our relative isolation would keep the babies safe. I was far more concerned about West Nile, at the time.

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My kids get it. And we skipped most vaccines for years. My niece had viral meningitis last June...ended up airlifted to a Children's Hospital and is still feeling "spacy" in the head, her grades at school went down - I do not want to mess with any kind of meningitis.

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Yes, my children will get this one. Meningitis is highly contagious, comes on quickly, progresses rapidly, mimics a simple flu and can be hard to diagnose properly, and can kill a healthy child before anyone knows what happened. A girl on my daughter's gym team died after being sick for 48 hours...she never even saw a doctor.

 

Barb

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We are not a family who goes to the doctor right away, and I fear that my sons would not take the symptoms seriously and seek medical care in time.

 

I had already planned to vax my older kids for this when they finish high school (we vax selectively, and not always according to the standard schedule), but this is something I hadn't thought of. We don't go to the doctor a lot, either, and use the 'wait it out' method a lot...but this is something that acts so fast, that sort of approach would be deadly.

 

Thanks for mentioning this.

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I had already planned to vax my older kids for this when they finish high school (we vax selectively, and not always according to the standard schedule), but this is something I hadn't thought of. We don't go to the doctor a lot, either, and use the 'wait it out' method a lot...but this is something that acts so fast, that sort of approach would be deadly.

 

Thanks for mentioning this.

 

Not that this is any kind of guarantee, but any time we have a fever plus a bad headache, plus any kind of soreness or light sensitivity or nausea, we go in immediately. And we are not doctor types either.

 

We had a scare two years ago, when my son had a headache so bad it woke him up. He just lay there whimpering, even after medication. He spiked a fever, and began throwing up. We were at the ER immediately. All the docs suspected meningitis. Luckily, it wasn't - just a harmless virus.

 

I had a friend who lost her toddler to meningitis. I will always go to the ER if there's any doubt.

 

It's also worth understanding that the vaccines don't take care of all forms of meningitis. You can be vaccinated, and still get a different type.

 

I need to re-research the risks of the vaccine, but yes, we'll probably get it.

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I've never known anyone who had meningitis and it's honestly never even been on my radar to think about it. I only first knew there was a vaccine against it when someone mentioned it here several months ago. We virtually never go to the doctor, but I've had my boys receive the standard vaccines. I asked our GP, a personal friend whom I trust a great deal, about this and mentioned he recommended having my guys get it later in their teen years, particularly if they go off to college and are living in dorms, as someone mentioned here.

 

Reading this thread, what I wonder now is, why would I wait? If it only has to be administered once (am I understanding that correctly?) and supposedly lasts a lifetime, why not get it earlier rather than later? I'll ask my friend/GP about that, but in the meantime, what do the rest you more knowledgeable folks have to say about that?

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I asked our GP, a personal friend whom I trust a great deal, about this and mentioned he recommended having my guys get it later in their teen years, particularly if they go off to college and are living in dorms, as someone mentioned here.

 

Reading this thread, what I wonder now is, why would I wait? If it only has to be administered once (am I understanding that correctly?) and supposedly lasts a lifetime, why not get it earlier rather than later? I'll ask my friend/GP about that, but in the meantime, what do the rest you more knowledgeable folks have to say about that?

 

I JUST read an article about this in the WSJ, and I could very well be remembering this incorrectly, but I thought it lasted about 10 years...? So they were saying vaccinate after 11 or something, which would carry most kids through their college years. Don't quote me on that! I'll see if I can track down the article...

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... I only first knew there was a vaccine against it when someone mentioned it here several months ago...

 

The reason you're hearing more about it is because there's a new formulation of the vaccine. (And, sigh, the new formulation is being heavily marketed.) It's actually been around since 1981, and I'd venture to say that a great many of us have had the vaccine, even if we don't remember it clearly. (As I mentioned before, many universities consider it a requirement for enrollment -- I know mine did, and that was, well, some years ago now!) ;)

 

What raises my curiosity is this new version of the vaccine. What are the changes, and how were they motivated?

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What raises my curiosity is this new version of the vaccine. What are the changes, and how were they motivated?

 

Good questions. The WSJ article doesn't specify, other than to say:

 

"that there was a vaccine against meningococcal meningitis available even in the 1990s, called Metamune, that might have saved their children. But it wasn't as effective as the new version and few people knew of it or that meningococcal meningitis was such a threat. Several families banded together in 2002 to form the National Meningitis Association, www.nmaus.org, which works to spread awareness both of the disease and the vaccine, funded in part by Sanofi."

 

The new vaccine, I take it, is called Menactra, and lasts 8-10 years. Other than that, I've got no info...

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Does anybody know what causes meningitus? I mean, I KNOW that is a bacteria. But, what from? Why so many outbreaks? I'm just curious b/c we don't vaccinate at all but I always said if the benefits outweighed the risks (i.e. in this case) then we would consider the vaccine. I just wondered if anybody had any more info on meningitus itself. Thanks.

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Does anybody know what causes meningitus? I mean, I KNOW that is a bacteria. But, what from? Why so many outbreaks? I'm just curious b/c we don't vaccinate at all but I always said if the benefits outweighed the risks (i.e. in this case) then we would consider the vaccine. I just wondered if anybody had any more info on meningitus itself. Thanks.

 

Again from the WSJ article:

 

"About 15% to 20% of the population carries the meningococcal bacterium without having any symptoms. But such carriers can transmit it to people who are more susceptible, via sneezing, coughing, kissing or sharing drinks or cigarettes. That's why the disease often hits people living in close quarters like college dorms and sleep-away camps. Teens who are run down and sleep-deprived are especially vulnerable, and the lack of supervision means that symptoms aren't always recognized early.

 

"A parent would have that gut instinct that this isn't a simple flu -- but a sorority sister or a roommate might not realize it," says Katherine Karlsrud, a New York City pediatrician.

 

 

"Minutes count," notes Candie Benn of San Diego, whose daughter, Melanie, came down with the disease on Christmas Eve in 1995 during her freshman year in college. "We got her to the hospital in 40 minutes and her veins were collapsing. I was still thinking she had the flu and they're telling me she has a 50% chance of living," Ms. Benn says. Melanie survived -- but only after three months in intensive care with skin grafts, two months of rehab, a kidney transplant and amputations of both legs and arms."

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If you can wash the dog and post at the same time, then, You Go, Girl!! I washed our dog outside last night and ended up needing a bath myself!!:001_smile::001_smile:

 

LOL! Nope; finished washing the dog and THEN posted! But I was pondering the question while lathering, rinsing and repeating. And then conditioning. And then blowing dry. :-)

 

Boring life I lead; eh?

 

Astrid:001_smile:

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...are you saying your oldest daughter hasn't yet received the vaccine? Because I'm wondering about timing, as I mentioned in my post below.

 

Colleen, Meghan hasn't had it yet because like you, I hadn't really thought about it. Her getting ready for college brought it to my attention, actually. She'll get it at school on move in day, but since Jenna is also attending school this year, I'm going to take her to our family doc and have her done too.

 

Barb

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So okay, I am confused a bit. I hear you all talking about HIB and then this other vaccine for meningitis they get when they are much older (11 or so). Why are they not just given the HIB at age 11? Or the other vaccine when they are babies? Do they protect against the same kind of meningitis? Or is one for a viral form while the later one is for the more deadly bacterial form?

 

We vaccinate fully - other than my 5 year old not having a booster for MMR or Varicella as of yet, but likely he will at his 5 year check-up in November.

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My girls had all their shots as scheduled at the pediatrician, so they both received Hib without question.

 

I've been slower to vaccinate the Snort, and my ped has been supportive of that. Hib is on her list of most important vaccines, so he's received it.

 

I had a friend whose 20 month old son died of meningitis. It's scary. I honestly don't know if it was the kind that Hib protects against, but I am happy to have him have this shot.

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So okay, I am confused a bit. I hear you all talking about HIB and then this other vaccine for meningitis they get when they are much older (11 or so). Why are they not just given the HIB at age 11? Or the other vaccine when they are babies? Do they protect against the same kind of meningitis? Or is one for a viral form while the later one is for the more deadly bacterial form?

 

The protect against different strains of meningitis -- and the risk for those different strains is higher at different ages.

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I don't want to hijack this thread, but I was just wondering why some of you won't be getting the Guardisil for your daughers.

 

Well, a couple of reasons... It's very new and was pushed through quite quickly. We just don't *know* anything about long term effects and safety. Gardisil protects against certain *strains* of HPV, but not all, and certainly not against other STDs. Whereas condoms don't carry the risk of an untried vaccine and they protect against the various strains of HPV and other STDs as well. Yes, that requires that they actually be used, sigh. But given the vaccine, young girls (who tend to feel rather immortal anyway), may feel a false sense that they are "protected". (The pill may give that same sense of false security for different reasons -- and both have risks for girls' long-term health and leave them *un*protected in other important ways.)

 

Gardisil simply isn't necessary for girls who 1) aren't having sex, or 2) are (diligently) using condoms. I realize that we don't have a whole lot of control over whether those two factors exist for our daughters, but we can have an influence -- and we can point out the risks as best we can and hope they listen...

 

Later, when those same girls are settling down to a long-term relationship, they can decide to go ahead with Gardisil if they want. (If their partner has no experience beyond them, it's unnecessary -- if he does, it's probably wise, because there is as yet no HPV test for men.)

 

But because one of my major concerns about Gardisil is how quickly it was put on the market and how narrow our window of study, just putting the vaccine off for a few years can make a difference in the knowledge we have about it.

 

Those are some of my own reasons. I'm not trying to convince others, but I recently did some reading and research for my own family, and that's what I came up with. Meningitis is something we can't guard against in other ways. It spreads through casual contact, and it comes on *fast* with seemingly rather innocuous symptoms (how many of us have had ourselves or our kids "wait out" the flu?)... For those reasons, I have very different concerns about it than I have about HPV.

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My daughters both got Menactra because my trusted pediatician who never pushes, always gives me the facts and backs off while I make a decision, looked me in the eye and said, "They really, really need this one. The symptoms are so sudden. They can wake up feeling a little bad in the morning and be gone by evening, I've seen it." He also said that his kids got it as soon as it was available because this illness scares him so much. Both my girls got the vaccine the same day and suffered no ill effects.

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I can't even read the posts here, the subject is so scary for me. My pastor's 6 month old baby got HiB before the vaccine, and was in the hospital dying for 11 days. I vaccinate very selectively, but HiB was one I gave all my kids before 6 months. When they came up with this one, after reading all the newspaper stories of 15 year old girls who got a headache and were dead in 24 hours, I took this one too. I did not perform due diligence to look into it, I just reacted with the fear they expect will motivate us and did it. Yes I have had regrets, but not the kind I would have if my dd firstborn came down with this and left me early.

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Does anybody know what causes meningitus? I mean, I KNOW that is a bacteria. But, what from? Why so many outbreaks? I'm just curious b/c we don't vaccinate at all but I always said if the benefits outweighed the risks (i.e. in this case) then we would consider the vaccine. I just wondered if anybody had any more info on meningitus itself. Thanks.

 

We did some vaccinating. I have to say I wish I didn't let the doctor scare me into doing it in the first place.

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Well, a couple of reasons... It's very new and was pushed through quite quickly. We just don't *know* anything about long term effects and safety. Gardisil protects against certain *strains* of HPV, but not all, and certainly not against other STDs. Whereas condoms don't carry the risk of an untried vaccine and they protect against the various strains of HPV and other STDs as well. Yes, that requires that they actually be used, sigh. But given the vaccine, young girls (who tend to feel rather immortal anyway), may feel a false sense that they are "protected". (The pill may give that same sense of false security for different reasons -- and both have risks for girls' long-term health and leave them *un*protected in other important ways.)

 

Gardisil simply isn't necessary for girls who 1) aren't having sex, or 2) are (diligently) using condoms. I realize that we don't have a whole lot of control over whether those two factors exist for our daughters, but we can have an influence -- and we can point out the risks as best we can and hope they listen...

 

Later, when those same girls are settling down to a long-term relationship, they can decide to go ahead with Gardisil if they want. (If their partner has no experience beyond them, it's unnecessary -- if he does, it's probably wise, because there is as yet no HPV test for men.)

 

But because one of my major concerns about Gardisil is how quickly it was put on the market and how narrow our window of study, just putting the vaccine off for a few years can make a difference in the knowledge we have about it.

 

Those are some of my own reasons. I'm not trying to convince others, but I recently did some reading and research for my own family, and that's what I came up with. Meningitis is something we can't guard against in other ways. It spreads through casual contact, and it comes on *fast* with seemingly rather innocuous symptoms (how many of us have had ourselves or our kids "wait out" the flu?)... For those reasons, I have very different concerns about it than I have about HPV.

 

I do definitely understand your reasoning. I just cannot get the picture of the young women, that I have taken care of, who are dying from cervical cancer. Knowing it might have been prevented makes me sick.

 

I am not planning on getting it for my daughters any time soon. But in a few years, unless research convinces me otherwise, my daughters will be receiving the vaccine.

 

Like you, I'm not trying to convince anyone. This is just what we've chosen for our family. :)

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Meningitis is not a new vaccine. My son got it about four years ago and my older daughter got it about three years ago. This year, my youngest will get it. If your kids go to camps, dorms, or barracks; it is an important vaccine. The disease is spread among young people (teens and early adults primarily) in close quarters. Every year, several kids/ya in whatever area we have lived in get it and die. I don't know how many get it and just get very sick but survive. Neither of my olders got any reaction from the vaccine.

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I understand that children are at little risk of Hep B but everyone who ever eats out in or any catered food or prepared food is at risk of Hep A. That is spread through contaminated food. Check the statistics for Hep A in your state. I was surprised in that in several states I have lived in, Hep A is considered in an epidemic state. Hepatitis is not a pleasant disease at all and can cause one to end up with permanent liver problems. What is the thinking of not vaccinating for this as I am trying to understand?

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