updated 11/2/2006 12:54:58 PM ET 2006-11-02T17:54:58

A meningitis vaccine shortage is over, and federal health officials are again recommending the shot for preteens as well as college and high school students.

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The government approved the new vaccine for marketing last year, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended it for three age groups — college freshmen, teens entering high school and children aged 11-12.

But in May, when demand appeared to be exceeding supply, the government took preteens off the priority list. College freshmen living in dorms where the infection can more easily spread were considered at higher risk.

Now that the summer back-to-school demand has eased, so have order restrictions and shipment delays, said a spokeswoman for Sanofi Pasteur, which manufactures the Menactra vaccine. The company said it is producing 6 million doses this year, and next year will exceed 7 million.

Doctors who deferred 11- and 12-year-olds in the spring and summer can now call the kids back in for the shots, CDC officials said Thursday.

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