Why few pediatricians discuss meningitis B vaccine with patients

Many pediatricians are missing out on opportunities to discuss the meningitis B vaccine with teen patients and their parents, reports The Washington Post.

Meningitis B outbreaks often occur among college students living in close quarters. About 20 college students contract the disease annually, and about 12 percent of cases are fatal, according to Sarah Mbaeyi, MD, a pediatrician who studies meningococcal disease for the CDC.

Most students do not enter college vaccinated against the disease, since the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices does not recommend mandatory vaccination. Instead, the panel says vaccination should be based on "shared clinical decision-making."

Only 51 percent of pediatricians and 31 percent of family physicians said they "always or often" discuss the meningitis vaccine with patients, according to a 2018 study published in Pediatrics.

"The problem on the provider side is that there are so many required vaccines to discuss and that it's understandable that a vaccine that's not routinely recommended would get overlooked or be considered a lower priority," study author Allison Kempe, MD, director of the Adult and Child Center for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science at the University of Colorado Denver, told The Washington Post.

To view the full report, click here.

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