By Sonam Vashi
The FDA has approved a new combination vaccine that fights two common causes of bacterial meningitis in young children, who are especially vulnerable to the disease.
Manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, the vaccine MenHibrix protects infants and toddlers against bacteria that cause Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease and two types of meningococcal disease, all which can lead to bacterial meningitis.
Bacterial meningitis, an infection that inflames the coverings around the brain and spinal cord, can cause brain damage and even death if left untreated. According to the CDC, there were about 4,100 annual cases of bacterial meningitis in the U.S. between 2003 and 2007 and 500 deaths from the disease each year.
“It is the first meningococcal vaccine that can be given starting as young as six weeks of age,” said Karen Midthun, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
Because MenHibrix is a combination vaccine, your baby potentially may need one less injection at the doctor’s office.
MenHibrix is given in a four-dose series, starting as young as 6 weeks and ending as old as 18 months. Common reported side effects from the vaccine are pain, irritability, redness and swelling at the infection site, and fever.