Use of Vaccines to Prevent Meningitis in Persons with Cochlear Implants

What You Should Know

  • People with cochlear implants are more likely to get bacterial meningitis than people without cochlear implants. In addition, some people who are candidates for cochlear implants have anatomic factors that may increase their risk for meningitis. These factors include facial and cranial abnormalities, including of the temporal bone and cochlea.
  • The bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) causes most cases of meningitis in people with cochlear implants.
  • Due to their increased risk, CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for people who have or are candidates for cochlear implants. Clinicians should follow the pneumococcal vaccine recommendations that apply to other groups at increased risk.
  • Recommendations for the timing and type of pneumococcal vaccination vary with age and vaccination history. See Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations highlighted in the box to the right for details.

Pneumococcal Vaccine Recommendations by Age and Vaccination History

Children who have or are candidates for cochlear implants may need pneumococcal vaccination. It depends on their age and which pneumococcal vaccines they have already received.

Pneumococcal vaccination is recommended for adults who have or are candidates for cochlear implants.

See Pneumococcal Vaccination: Summary of Who and When to Vaccinate for a comprehensive breakdown of recommendations by age, risk condition, and vaccination history.

Download the PneumoRecs VaxAdvisor Mobile App for Vaccine Providers for help determining which pneumococcal vaccines a patient needs and when.

Other Vaccines Can Help Protect Against Meningitis

There is no evidence people with cochlear implants are more likely to get Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) meningitis or meningococcal meningitis than people who do not have cochlear implants. However, Hib and meningococcal vaccines are routinely recommended based on age and other risk factors.

  • The following Hib and meningococcal vaccines are available in the United States:
    • Hib conjugate (ActHIB®, Hiberix®, PedvaxHIB®, Pentacel®, and Vaxelis®)
    • Meningococcal conjugate (MenQuadfi® and Menveo®)
    • Serogroup B meningococcal (Bexsero® and Trumenba®)
    • Pentavalent meningococcal vaccine (PenbrayaTM)
  • See Vaccine-specific ACIP Recommendations for information about how, when, and which pneumococcal, Hib, and meningococcal vaccines can be given together.

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