Vaccine against Meningococcal Meningitis

Meningococcal Vaccine

The meningococcal vaccines MenACWY, MenB, and MPSV4 protect against a bacteria that causes meningitis (brain inflammation). The vaccine is recommended for all teenagers at 11 or 12 years old.

What is the meningitis vaccine?

The meningitis vaccine protects against meningococcal meningitis, a serious infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. The disease is caused by several types of meningococcal bacteria. The infection can commonly spreads to the bloodstream. Even with treatment, 10-15% of meningococcal infections are fatal, and 10-20% of people who survive suffer permanent complications or brain damage.

What are the types of meningococcal vaccines?

There are three types of meningococcal vaccines: MenACWY, MenB, and MPSV4. These vaccines protect against infections with several different serotypes of Neisseria meningitidis, the bacteria that causes meningococcal meningitis.

What are meningococcal vaccine names?

NAMETYPESEROGROUPSYEAR LICENSEDAPPROVED AGES
MenomunePolysaccharideACWY19812 years and older
MenactraConjugateACWY19819 months – 55 years
MenveoConjugateACWY20102 months – 55 years
TrumenbaProteinB201410-25 years
BexseroProteinB201510-25 years

Who gets the meningococcal meningitis vaccine?

Certain people should get both MenACWY and MenB vaccines. Other people only need MenACWY. Adults over 55 years old should get the MPSV4 vaccine against meningococcal meningitis.

MenACWY is recommended for these people:

  • Children and teens ages 11 through 18
  • People over 2 months who have a damaged or missing spleen
  • People with HIV
  • People younger than 22 years old if they will be a first-year collect student living in a residential hall
  • People age 2 months or older who live or travel to certain countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Mecca, and other countries where the vaccine is recommended.

MenB is not routinely recommended for teenagers or college students, but it is recommended for these people:

  • People age 10 and older who have a damaged or missing spleen
  • People age 10 and older who have a persistent complement component deficiency (immune system disorder)
  • People taking the medicine called Soliris®
  • People at risk during an outbreak caused by Serotype B
  • People working with meningococcus bacteria in a laboratory

Who should NOT get a meningococcal vaccine?

  • People who are moderately or severely ill
  • People who have had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of either a meningococcal vaccine or any ingredient in it. Some types of meningococcal vaccines contain latex.

How many shots do I need?

Two doses of MenACWY are recommended for teenagers between the ages of 11 and 18 years old, with a booster shot given at the age of 16 years old. A third shot may be necessary for high-risk groups.

One shot of MenB is recommended for certain high-risk groups, but it is not a routine vaccination because Serotype B is so uncommon.

One shot of MPSV4 is recommended for adults over 55 years old.

What is the immunization schedule for meningococcal meningitis?

The recommended immunization schedule for meningococcal disease is one dose of MenACWY at ages 11 or 12 years and a booster shot at 16 years.

What are common side effects of meningococcal vaccines?

Up to 50% of people who get meningococcal vaccines have mild side effects, such as redness or pain where the shot was given. These symptoms usually last for 1-2 days and are more common after MenACWY than MPSV4.

The most common meningitis vaccine side effects include:

  • Chills
  • Crying persistently
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Injection-site reactions (pain, redness, swelling, lump, etc.)
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Malaise (feeling sick)
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Rash
  • Vomiting

To learn more about the side effects associated with the meningococcal and/or meningitis vaccine, please visit this page: Meningococcal Vaccine Side Effects.

What are severe side effects of meningococcal vaccines?

The risk of severe meningococcal vaccine side effects depends on the type of vaccine, patient age and risk-factors, and if other vaccines were given at the same time. Some reported side effects include:

  • Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
  • Allergic reaction
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Angioedema
  • Apnea (temporarily stop breathing) in premature infants
  • Febrile convulsion
  • Fever
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Paresthesia
  • Seizure
  • Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA)

Where can I get more information?

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