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Vaccines for Prevention of Group B Meningococcal Disease

Not Your Father’s Vaccines
      For decades, there was no licensed vaccine for prevention of endemic capsular group B meningococcal disease, despite the availability of vaccines for prevention of the other most common meningococcal capsular groups. Recently, however, two new vaccines have been licensed for prevention of group B disease. Although immunogenic and considered to have an acceptable safety profile, there are many scientific unknowns about these vaccines, including effectiveness against antigenically diverse endemic meningococcal strains; duration of protection; whether they provide any herd protection; and whether there will be meningococcal antigenic changes that will diminish effectiveness over time. In addition, these vaccines present societal dilemmas that could influence how they are used in the U.S., including high vaccine cost in the face of a historically low incidence of meningococcal disease. These issues are discussed in this review.
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