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Meningococcal: Who Needs to Be Vaccinated?

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®)

Preteens and Teens

Which vaccines do my preteen or teen need?

All 11–12 year olds should be vaccinated with a quadrivalent (protects against serogroups A, C, W, and Y) meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra® or Menveo®).  A booster dose is recommended at age 16 years. For teens 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. Teens 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 is also available for preteens and teens, but it is only recommended for certain people at increased risk of meningococcal disease.  Physicians can still use serogroup B meningococcal vaccines for people 10 through 25 years old consistent with the labeled indication.

ACIP is currently considering use of serogroup B meningococcal vaccines in preteens, teens, and young adults. A decision on recommendations is expected soon.

Why does my preteen or teen need to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal disease can be devastating and often — and unexpectedly — strikes otherwise healthy individuals. Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but teens and young adults 16 through 23 years old are at increased risk for meningococcal disease. Meningococcal bacteria can cause severe disease, including meningitis and sepsis, resulting in permanent disabilities and even death.

Why is a booster shot of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine recommended?

When quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine was first recommended for preteens and teens in 2005, the expectation was that protection would last for 10 years; however, currently available data suggest protection declines in most teens within 5 years. Based on that information, a single dose at the recommended age of 11–12 years may not offer protection through the years at which risk for meningococcal disease is higher (16 through 23 years old).

What if my child is about to start college and got their first dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine more than 5 years ago?

For the best protection, it is recommended that your child receives a booster dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine. This vaccination is required to attend many colleges. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) suggests that your child receive the vaccine less than 5 years before starting college.

How soon after the first dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine can the booster dose be given?

Teens age 16 through 18 years can get the booster dose at any time. The minimum interval between doses is 8 weeks. However, teens who receive their first dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine at or after age 16 do not need a booster dose.

Are there safety concerns with getting a booster dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine?

Available data suggest that the booster dose is very safe, but vaccine safety will continue to be monitored.

For additional details, consult the Meningococcal ACWY Vaccine Information Statement, the Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccine Information Statement, and the Preteen and Teen Immunization Schedule.

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Adults

As an adult, which meningococcal vaccines do I need?

See also: Adult Immunization Schedule

You should get the quadrivalent (protects against serogroups A, C, W, and Y) meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra® or Menveo®) if:

  • You have complement component deficiency or are taking Soliris®
  • You have a damaged spleen or your spleen has been removed
  • You are a microbiologist who is routinely exposed to Neisseria meningitidis (the bacteria that causes meningococcal disease)
  • You are traveling or residing in countries in which the disease is common
  • You are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup A, C, W or Y meningococcal disease outbreak
  • You are a first-year college student living in a residence hall
  • You are a military recruit

You should get the meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine if:

  • You are 56 years and older
    and
  • You are traveling or residing in countries in which the disease is common
  • You are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup A, C, W or Y meningococcal disease outbreak

You should get the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine if:

  • You have complement component deficiency or are taking Soliris®
  • You have a damaged spleen or your spleen has been removed
  • You are a microbiologist who is routinely exposed to Neisseria meningitidis
  • You are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak

For additional details, consult the Meningococcal ACWY Vaccine Information Statement, the Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccine Information Statement, and the Adult Immunization Schedule.

Healthcare Personnel Vaccination Recommendations[1 page]

 

Infants and Children

Does my infant or child need this vaccine?

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine is recommended for certain children at increased risk from ages 2 months through 10 years, including children:

  • With complement component deficiency or who are taking Soliris®
  • With damaged spleen or whose spleen has been removed
  • Who are traveling or residing in countries in which the disease is common
  • Who are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup A, C, W or Y meningococcal disease outbreak

For additional details, consult the Meningococcal ACWY Vaccine Information Statement and the Childhood Immunization Schedule.

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