Get ready to line up on the pro- and anti-vaccine side of the debate, as a new vaccine has been approved by the FDA for infants and toddlers. Menactra, a vaccine used to prevent meningitis for people ages 2 to 55 is now approved for babies as young as nine months.
Meningitis is especially scary as it can be difficult to diagnosis in babies and toddlers. The symptoms are stiff neck (how can you ask a pre-talker if his neck feels stiff?), high fever, and headache. Meningitis can also turn deadly in 15% of those who fall ill, even with treatment. It's a serious disease that we should all work to keep at bay. But some people are automatically suspicious of vaccines, no matter how much good they do, and how many lives are saved. You know who you are.
When it comes to scary communicable diseases, I'm all for eradicating that business. My own father would have had two older brothers if the whooping cough vaccine had been around when they died from the disease in childhood. Meningitis is especially scary since it can strike the youngest without us even knowing. I would sign up my baby or toddler for this vaccination, especially since it's been in use already and the known side effects include inflammation, redness, slight fever or headache. It's worth it, and it's worth keeping up the herd immunity.
While I haven't heard of a lot of people eschewing the meningitis vaccine, for those who are anti-science in every way, this will surely offend. I just hope more accept this as a health tool, than turn away.
Would you give your baby or toddler this vaccine?
Image via Daniel Paquet/Flickr