Researchers say vaccine for meningitis has risks

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ATLANTA - Young people who get a new meningitis shot may have a slightly higher risk of developing a paralyzing side effect, federal researchers said Thursday.

Even so, federal health officials said the benefits far outweigh the risk of the rare condition, Guillain-Barre syndrome. They are not backing off their recommendation that most students be vaccinated.

The researchers cautioned that they are uncertain about their risk estimate and a larger study is being planned.

hey found the added risk was 1.25 cases of GBS for every 1 million doses of vaccine distributed.

"It's a very small risk," said one of the study's authors, Dr. Robert Davis of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who noted that the risk of getting meningitis without the shot is far greater.

A vaccination advisory committee is to discuss the research next week when it takes a new look at the government's meningitis vaccine recommendations, CDC officials said.

The research was reported Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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