Age as a Risk Factor

A graph showing rates of meningococcal disease by age groups. Infants, adolescents, and young adults have the highest rates of meningococcal disease in the United States.

Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but rates of disease are highest in children younger than 1 year old, followed by a second peak in adolescence. Among teens and young adults, those 16 through 23 years old have the highest rates of meningococcal disease.

Infants, preteens, teens, and young adults have the highest rates of meningococcal disease in the United States.

Infants

CDC recommends meningococcal conjugate vaccines for children as young as 6 weeks old if they

Preteens, Teens, and Young Adults

CDC recommends vaccinating all 11 through 18 year olds with a meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Preteens 11 to 12 years old should visit their clinicians to receive 1 dose and other preventive services. Since protection decreases over time, CDC recommends a booster dose at age 16. This allows teens to continue having protection during the ages when they are at highest risk of meningococcal disease.

Ask your healthcare professional which meningococcal vaccines they recommend for you or your child.

Teens and young adults (16 through 23 year olds) may also be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, preferably at 16 through 18 years old. Multiple doses are needed, regardless of the brand chosen, and the same vaccine brand must be used for all doses.

Learn more about meningococcal vaccination recommendations.

Related Pages
Page last reviewed: March 28, 2017