MENINGITIS VACCINE SHORTAGE IS OVER

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Children aged 11 and 12 years can start receiving the meningitis vaccine Menactra (Meningococcal [Groups A, C, Y and W-135] Polysaccharide Diphtheria Toxoid Conjugate) again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) restored the recommendation because the vaccine shortage has ended.

In May 2006, the agency suggested that preteens defer getting the vaccine due to concern about a shortfall. The decision allowed adolescents entering high school and college freshmen living in dormitories to continue to receive the vaccination. "Where possible, providers who deferred vaccination of children aged 11 to 12 years should recall those patients for vaccination," CDC officials said.

Menactra received FDA approval last year for preventing bacterial meningitis. The vaccine is manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine unit of Sanofi-Aventis. The company expects to make >6 million doses of the vaccine this year and at least 7 million next year, said Donna Cary, company spokeswoman.