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August 12, 1998

Meningococcal Vaccination

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;280(6):515-516. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-280-6-jac057001

To the Editor.—I wish to lend a more personal view to the controversial issue of vaccination framed by Drs Moore and Osterholm.1

In the midst of a "cluster" of cases of invasive meningococcal disease (11 patients, 3 deaths)2 and reacting to intense public pressure, public health officials in Rhode Island have begun immunizing tens of thousands of young people with meningococcal vaccine. The move has created intense controversy in southern New England. Parents in Rhode Island complain that the vaccine "should have been given yesterday," while Massachusetts public health officials decry the vaccination effort as "dangerous" ("Rhode Island clearly does not have a real meningitis crisis").2