A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee on Wednesday recommended that adolescents receive a booster shot of the meningitis vaccine at age 16 because the effects of the vaccine fade more quickly than had been anticipated.
Researchers had originally thought that the benefits of the vaccine persisted for at least 10 years, but new evidence presented to the committee Wednesday suggests that its benefits begin to wane after five years.
Three years ago, the committee recommended that the vaccine be given routinely to children at the age of 10 or 11, primarily in an effort to protect them as they enter college and the military. Meningitis is a particular problem among groups living in close proximity, as in college dorms or military barracks. The new recommendation, narrowly approved by the advisory committee, is intended to prevent future outbreaks.
The CDC generally follows the recommendations of its advisory committees.