Meningococcal Vaccination

Meningococcal Vaccine

Immunization can help avoid meningococcal disease; a type of illness caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. Meningococcal vaccines are available in two varieties in the United States:


  • Meningococcal conjugate or MenACWY vaccines
  • Serogroup B meningococcal or MenB vaccines


All children aged 11 to 12 should receive a MenACWY vaccine, with a booster dose at the age of 16. Teens (16 to 23 years old) may also be given the MenB vaccine. Meningococcal vaccination is also recommended by the CDC for other children and adults who are at high risk of meningococcal disease.


Symptoms of  Meningitis

Meningitis symptoms can appear suddenly and include:


If symptoms persist, consult your doctor immediately.


Who Should Get Vaccinated?

Meningococcal vaccination is recommended for all teens by the CDC. In some cases, the CDC also advises that other kids and adults get meningococcal vaccines. The CDC recommends meningococcal vaccines, including booster shots, for people based on their age.



All teens aged 11 to 12 should receive a MenACWY vaccine, with a booster shot at the age of 16. Teens may also receive a MenB vaccine, preferably between the ages of 16 and 18.


While other teens chooses ro have MenB vaccine, others can should it get if they:


  • Have a complement component deficiency, a rare immune disorder.
  • Are taking Soliris® or Ultomiris®, a type of inhibitor.
  • Have a spleen that has been damaged or removed.
  • Part of any population who is at risk of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak.



MenACWY vaccination for children who are between 2 months and 10 years old is recommended by CDC.


Children and teenagers who are at higher risk of meningococcal disease require the entire MenACWY vaccine series, even if they are younger than 11 years old. This includes children who:


  • Live in or visit countries where the disease is rampant
  • Are present during a disease outbreak
  • Have certain kinds of autoimmune conditions. If the immune disorders are chronic, these children may require a booster dose several years later, depending on their age at the time of the first dose.


Grown ups

The CDC suggests getting the vaccine if you are an adult and:


  • HIV Positive.
  • Have a rare immune disorder called terminal complement deficiency.
  • If you are taking a inhibitor medicine.
  • Have a spleen that has been damaged or removed.
  • You work as a microbiologist and are frequently exposed to Neisseria. meningitidis.
  • Are in the military service.
  • Exposed to it during an outbreak.
  • Student living in a dorm.


Consult your doctor to determine if and when you will require MenACWY or MenB booster shots.


Who should NOT get vaccinated?

Some people should avoid or postpone receiving certain vaccines due to age or medical conditions. Read the guidelines below and seek additional information from your doctor.


Inform the doctor or the person giving the vaccine if:


  • Your child has allergies that is life-threatening.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.
  • You are sick/not feeling well.


How Effective Are These Vaccines?

According to studies, the meningococcal ACWY vaccine is effective in 80 to 85 percent.


Like any other vaccines, it helps protect against meningococcal disease, but they cannot prevent all cases.


Meningococcal disease rates in the United States have been declining since the 1990s and remain low today. The majority of the decline happened prior to the pervasive use of MenACWY vaccines. Furthermore, serogroup B meningococcal disease declined despite the fact that MenB vaccines were unavailable until the end of 2014.


These studies indicate that MenACWY vaccines provided protection to those who received them, but not to the larger, unvaccinated population. Experts also believe that MenB vaccines do not provide unvaccinated people with protection through population immunity.


Side Effects


MenACWY Vaccines

Mild problems following MenACWY vaccination can include:

  • Redness or sore where the shot was given
  • Muscle ache
  • Headache
  • Tired feeling

These typically last one or two days.


MenB Vaccines

Mild side effects might occur after getting a MenB vaccination, these can include:

  • Redness, sore, or swelling to the injected area.
  • Tired feeling
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

These usually last for 3 or 5 days.