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Meningococcal: Who Needs to Be Vaccinated?

For Healthcare Providers

There are three types of meningococcal vaccines available in the United States:

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccines (Mentactra®, MenHibrix®, and Menveo®)
  • Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Menomune®)
  • Serogroup B meningococcal vaccines (Bexsero® and Trumenba®)

Learn more below about which of these vaccines are recommended for adolescents, adults, and infants and children.

Adolescents

Meningococcal vaccination is recommended for all adolescents.

Quadrivalent Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine

All 11 to 12 year olds should be vaccinated with a quadrivalent (protects against serogroups A, C, W, and Y) meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra® or Menveo®). Since protection wanes, a booster dose is recommended at age 16 years so adolescents have protection during the ages when they are at highest risk of meningococcal disease. For adolescents who receive the first dose at age 13 through 15 years, a booster dose should be administered, preferably at age 16 through 18 years, before the period of increased risk. Adolescents who receive their first dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine at or after age 16 years do not need a booster dose.

Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccine

Questions and Answers for Clinicians

Find more information about meningococcal vaccination for adolescents, including dose intervals, safety, precautions, and other important details. View questions and answers.

New meningococcal vaccines for serogroup B (Bexsero® and Trumenba®) were licensed by the Food and Drug Administration in 2014 and 2015. Adolescents and young adults (16 through 23 years of age) may also be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, preferably at 16 through 18 years of age. Serogroup B meningococcal vaccines are only routinely recommended for people 10 and older identified as being at increased risk, either because of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak or certain medical conditions. Those conditions include complement component deficiencies (e.g., C5-C9, properdin, factor H, factor D, or are taking Soliris®) and functional or anatomic asplenia.

Adolescent Resources

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Adults

Meningococcal vaccination is recommended for some adults.

Quadrivalent Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine

Adults should get a quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra® or Menveo®) if:

  • They have complement component deficiency (e.g., C5-C9, properdin, factor H, factor D, or are taking Soliris®)
  • They have functional or anatomic asplenia
  • They are a microbiologist who is routinely exposed to Neisseria meningitidis (the causal pathogen)
  • They are traveling or residing in countries in which the disease is common
  • They are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup A, C, W or Y meningococcal disease outbreak
  • They are a first-year college student living in a residence hall
  • They are a military recruit

Adults at increased risk because of complement component deficiencies and persons with functional or anatomic asplenia should receive a two-dose primary series 2 months apart and then get a booster dose every 5 years.

Polysaccharide versus conjugate vaccine

Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Menomune®) is the only licensed meningococcal vaccine for adults aged ≥56 years and is immunogenic in older adults. For meningococcal vaccine-naïve persons aged ≥56 years who anticipate requiring a single dose of meningococcal vaccine (e.g., travelers and persons at risk as a result of a community outbreak), meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine is preferred. For persons now aged ≥56 years who were vaccinated previously with meningococcal conjugate vaccine and are recommended for revaccination or for whom multiple doses are anticipated (e.g., persons with asplenia and microbiologists), meningococcal conjugate vaccine is preferred. Adults aged ≥56 years at increased risk because of complement component deficiencies and persons with functional or anatomic asplenia who have not previously received meningococcal conjugate vaccine should receive a two-dose primary series 2 months apart and then get a booster dose every 5 years.

Meningococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine

Adults 56 years and older should get the meningoccoccal polysaccharide vaccine (Menomune®) if they are anticipated to only need one dose and:

  • They are traveling or residing in countries in which the disease is common
  • They are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of an outbreak of a serogroup A, C, W or Y meningococcal disease outbreak

Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccine

Adults should get a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (Bexsero® or Trumenba®) if:

  • They have complement component deficiency (e.g., C5-C9, properdin, factor H, factor D, or are taking Soliris®)
  • They have functional or anatomic asplenia
  • They are a microbiologist who is routinely exposed to Neisseria meningitidis (the causal pathogen)
  • They are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak

Adult Resources

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Infants and Children

Meningococcal vaccination is recommended for some infants and children.

Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra®, MenHibrix®, or Menveo®) is recommended for certain children at increased risk from ages 2 months through 10 years.

This vaccine is routinely recommended for children at increased risk for meningococcal disease, including those:

  • With complement component deficiencies (e.g., C5-C9, properdin, factor H, factor D, or are taking Soliris®)
  • With functional or anatomic asplenia
  • Who travel to specific countries
  • Who are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup A, C, W or Y meningococcal disease outbreak

Persons over 2 years of age at increased risk because of complement component deficiencies and persons with functional or anatomic asplenia should receive a two dose primary series 2 months apart. For children at prolonged increased risk for meningococcal disease, ACIP recommends booster doses of conjugate meningococcal vaccine after completion of the primary series.  If the most recent dose was received before age 7 years, a booster dose should be administered 3 years later.  Additional boosters should be administered every 5 years thereafter.

Special considerations for use of Menactra® for people with functional or anatomic asplenia

Children with functional or anatomic asplenia are not recommended to receive Menactra® until 2 years of age in order to avoid interference with the immunologic response to the infant series of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). ACIP recommends that infants 2 through 23 months of age with functional or anatomic asplenia either receive Menveo® or MenHibrix® or wait until 2 years of age to receive Menactra®.

People 2 years of age or older with functional or anatomic asplenia are not recommended to receive Menactra® at the same time as PCV13. They should either receive Menveo® or wait until they have received PCV13.

Children who receive MenHibrix® are not protected for travel

Infants and children who received the bivalent (protects against serogroups C and Y) meningococcal conjugate vaccine and Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine called MenHibrix® and are traveling or residing in countries where the disease is common should receive a quadrivalent (protects against serogroups A, C, W and Y) meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menveo® or Menactra®) before travel.

Infant and Child Resources

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