Thousands Take Antibiotics Following Ohio Meningitis Outbreak
However, the agency does suggest the vaccine for freshmen students heading off to live in dormitories. The CDC says they are "a group found to be at a modestly increased risk of risk" for getting the disease. "Most physicians, I would say, are not even discussing it with parents. ... I think it's wrong," says Congeni.
"The recommendations have been made that we cannot vaccinate everybody, but I think if we better understand the risk groups, then I think we'll be ahead," Chris Taylor, PhD, of the respiratory diseases branch of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
Researchers are also developing a better vaccine, since the current one is about 30 years old.
The vaccine only works for about five years before requiring a booster shot, and although it stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies, it's not as precise as some of the newer approaches that sensitize other key defense mechanisms in the body, which might keep the bacteria from getting a foothold in the bloodstream.