Oregon Doctors Wait For Feds To Allow New Meningococcal Vaccine

Following several high-profile cases of meningococcal disease in Oregon, local doctors are waiting to see if the federal government will permit a new vaccine.

The rate of meningococcal disease has been dropping over the last two decades, but the illness can be fatal.

There is a vaccine. But it doesn't protect against the Serogroup B strain -- the one responsible for about 60 percent of cases in Oregon.

Dr. Paul Cieslak with Oregon's Immunization Program says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking at a new vaccine for that strain. "Rest assured that the CDC knows all about Oregon's outbreak," he said. 

"Since 1994 we've been working real closely with them and whenever they think of meningococcal disease, they think of Oregon and our particular problem with Serogroup B. So they're really all over it."The CDC's immunization committee meets next month to decide whether to permit the new vaccine.

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