Meningitis vaccine how often

Contents

Do Teens Need a Meningitis Vaccine Booster?

There are other high-risk circumstances in which a booster shot is needed, even if a child was first vaccinated with the MCV4 meningitis vaccine, to make sure he stays protected. The recommendation to get a follow-up booster applies to young (and older) people who are:

  • Living without a healthy spleen (an organ that plays a key role in fighting infection)
  • Living with weakened immunity
  • Living or traveling in countries where meningococcal meningitis is very common

These boosters are recommended five years after the first meningitis vaccination and then every five years thereafter if vaccinated after age 7. If vaccinated between ages 2 and 7, the first booster should be given three years after the initial vaccine and then every five years. Boosters should be continued until the person is no longer in the high-risk situation.

“For the rest of us, most people should do fine with just the original vaccination,” says Dr. Russell.

There are few drawbacks to receiving the meningitis vaccine. “It’s a fairly well-tolerated vaccine and doesn’t tend to have a lot of side effects outside of the injection site,” says Russell. Side effects might include redness, soreness, and swelling.

Even if your young adult has been vaccinated against meningitis, it is still a good idea to check on which form of meningitis vaccine he had and make sure he has no other special situations that would require a booster shot for added protection.

Meningitis is a deadly condition that affects up to 1 million people per year globally.1 It is characterized by inflammation of the meninges but can also affect the parenchyma (meningoencephalitis), the spinal cord, and the ventricles (ventriculitis).2 The most common and lethal meningitis is bacterial, but several types exist: amebic, fungal, noninfectious, parasitic, and viral.1,3
The rate of meningococcal disease is at a low in the United States, declining since the 1990s.4 Since the inception of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine recommendation, the rate of meningococcal disease caused by serogroups C, Y, and W has decreased by 80% among 11-to-19-year-olds.4 Importantly, remember that meningitis is not synonymous with meningococcal disease.3 Meningococcal disease is any illness caused by Neisseria meningitidis, but bacterial meningitis in the United States is often caused by group B Streptococcus, Haemophilus influenzae, Listeria monocytogenes, Neisseria meningitidis, and Streptococcus pneumoniae.5 Bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency, and fortunately, vaccinations are available and recommended to prevent the disease.
The bacterium that causes meningococcal disease, N meningitidis, has 5 serogroups, A, B, C, W, and Y, that are covered under 2 types of vaccinations4: conjugate vaccines (Menactra and Menveo) and serogroup B (recombinant) vaccines (Bexsero and Trumenba).
INFANTS AND CHILDREN
The meningococcal vaccination is not routinely recommended for all infants and young children but is recommended in special circumstances. The CDC recommends that infants and children aged 2 months
to 10 years receive the meningococcal conjugate vaccines (Menactra and Menveo) if any of the following special conditions are present4: complement component deficiency, damaged spleen or asplenia, HIV, residing or traveling near a meningococcal disease outbreak, taking Soliris, or traveling to places where meningitis is common.
Children who continue to have an increased risk of contracting meningococcal disease should receive their booster shot 3 years after their first vaccination.6
The CDC recommends the serogroup B menin- gococcal vaccine for children 10 years or older if any of the following special conditions are met4: at increased risk because of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak, complement component deficiency, damaged spleen or asplenia, or taking Soliris.
PRETEENS AND TEENS
This age group is at increased risk of contracting meningitis.7 Therefore, the vaccination is routine. The CDC recommends that all children aged 11 to 12 years receive their first dose of meningococcal vaccine followed by a booster shot at age 16.4 Between ages 16 and 18, all teenagers can also get the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, and the CDC recommends it especially for preteens and teens if they are taking Soliris, have asplenia or spleen damage, have complement component deficiency, or plan to travel to places at increased risk of meningococcal outbreak.4
ADULTS
The CDC does not recommend the meningococcal vaccine routinely for adults, but the agency does recommend it for those in special circumstances.4 These include an adult who is a microbiologist who has a damaged spleen or asplenia; has complement component deficiency; has HIV; has increased risk because of a serogroup A, C, W, or Y meningococcal disease outbreak; is regularly exposed to N meningitidis; is in the military; is not up-to-date with this vaccine and is a first-year college student living in a residence hall; is taking Soliris; or is traveling to countries where the disease is common.
Patients should also get a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine if they4 are a microbiologist who is regularly exposed to N meningitidis, are at increased risk because of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak, are taking Soliris, have a damaged spleen or asplenia, or have complement component deficiency.
FREQUENCY FOR SPECIAL CONDITIONS
The following populations should receive a booster of meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) every 5 years: microbiologists who work with meningococcus, people with HIV infection, those who travel repeatedly to regions of Africa hyperendemic to meningococcal disease, and those without a spleen.8
Patients without a spleen are at increased risk of infections and should receive 2 doses of MenACWY separated by 8 weeks, then a booster dose every 5 years. They should also complete a series of meningococcal B vaccine, 2 or 3 doses, depending on the brand.7
Booster shots are not routinely recommended for meningococcal B disease.
MENINGITIS RISK WITH INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
Meningitis and meningococcal disease occur around the world, but meningitis is more prevalent in certain countries. Specifically, the highest incidence of meningococcal disease occurs in sub-Saharan Africa, also known as the meningitis belt.9 Additionally, people who travel to Saudi Arabia for hajj or umrah are required to have proof of the quadrivalent (serogroup A, C, W, or Y) vaccination.9 Patients must receive the conjugate vaccines (MCV-4), Menactra and Menveo, no more than 8 years before arrival.9
CONTRAINDICATIONS
Patients with a history of allergic reaction to the MenACWY and meningococcal B vaccines themselves or ingredients in the vaccines should avoid them. Those who are moderately to severely ill should also avoid them.4

Sara Hunt, MSN, RN, PHN, FNP-C, is a licensed and board-certified family nurse practitioner, a public health nurse, an adjunct assistant professor of health policy, and a doctor of nursing practice student at the University of California, San Francisco. She was the spring 2015 health policy fellow at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners’ Government Affairs Office in Washington, DC.
References

As increasingly scary warnings came out of New York about a particularly deadly variant of meningococcal disease (bacterial meningitis) was showing up in gay men in New York, authorities began recommending vaccinations for gay and bisexual men in New York City who are either HIV-positive or HIV-negative and non-monogamous. The vaccination warning also included men in the two categories above who visited New York City at any time since September of 2012. But the warnings from both New York City and New York State on this matter have been somewhat confusing, so I sought out an expert at the CDC, Dr. Clark, to explain what’s actually going on, and who really needs to get a shot. Let me walk you through what I learned.

Who should get a meningitis shot?

Anyone covered by the recommendations from New York City and New York state — if you can make sense of them. But also, really, anyone who’s concerned enough about the outbreak. I asked Dr. Clark if there was any downside to the vaccine, and he said no. The vaccine carries no more risk than any other vaccine you might take. And to further put one’s mind at ease, the meningitis vaccine does not contain a live bacteria, or even a dead one — it only contains part of the shell of the bacteria, so it’s impossible for it to give you meningitis. Thus, Dr. Clarks’s recommendation, that if you’re worried at all, get the shot.

How is this variant of meningitis transmitted?

I was quite surprised about how the bacteria is transmitted. As the New York warnings are targeted at gay men, and specifically at men who seek sex partners online, at a party, or at a bar, I just assumed that this was sexually transmitted. It’s not. The bacteria is transmitted through secretions of the mouth, nose, and throat — large-sized droplets. What that means is the droplets are far too large to float in the air. So it’s the kind of thing you’re more likely to get from French kissing, or having someone cough in your face or accidentally spit in your face while talking, or even sneezing, but regular aerosolized drops in sneezes won’t get you sick, it’s the larger droplets that do it. That’s why the warnings talked about “close contact.” What they found was that people living together, even if they’re not in a romantic relationship, we’re at a “very high risk” of contracting the disease from each other.

Can meningitis be transmitted by sex?

No, but…not only are the mouth, nose and throat instrumental for transmitting the bacteria, they’re also instrumental for receiving the bacteria. So oral sex isn’t going to transmit it, so long as your mouth doesn’t come into contact with anyone else’s saliva. The same goes for any other sex act, the key issue is your mouth (or nose) coming into contact with someone else’s saliva. I was surprised about that, since I figured this would be transmitted similarly to an STD. Not so, said Dr. Clark. Even though the bacteria is a cousin of the bacteria that causes gonorrhea, while gonorrhea adapted to the genital tract as a venue of transmission, this bacteria adopted to the nose and throat. It is also not as easily spread as an STD.

You’re not at risk if you work with someone who gets sick.

Because the bacteria requires prolonged face-to-face contact, simply working in an office alongside someone who came down with meningitis would not put you at risk, Dr. Clark told me.

Are people with HIV more likely to contract meningitis?

This one is tricky. What they’ve found is that being HIV-positive does not per se put you at risk of catching this variant of meningitis, as being HIV-positive can for other infections. So it’s not really a question of having a depressed immune system and thus being more likely to get the disease. But, they’ve found some kind of correlation between being HIV-positive and becoming infected during this outbreak: Many, but not all, of those infected are HIV-positive.

It could be something as simple as HIV-positive people in New York generally having sex with other HIV-positive people in that same community. Thus, if someone becomes infected in that community, he is more likely to pass it to other members of that community. So the bacteria stays within the HIV-positive community because it’s a discrete community, not because HIV makes you more prone to catch it. That isn’t necessarily the reason HIV-positive people in New York City are coming down with this disease, but it is an example of how HIV doesn’t put you at risk of catching the disease, yet your HIV status could still be relevant to whether you’re at a heightened risk.

Will the meningitis vaccine help after you’re exposed?

No. If your doctor thinks you’ve been exposed, or you’re already showing symptoms, they will prescribe antibiotics. The vaccine is only good before you’re exposed.

How quickly does the vaccine work and how long does it last?

The meningitis vaccine takes two weeks to fully kick in, and should protect you for three to five years. People with HIV may not respond as well to the vaccine, so it’s recommended that they receive two doses — a booster shot, in essence – two to three months apart. And regardless of your status, if you remain at risk, they recommend a booster after five years.

Now, having said that, the vaccine doesn’t always work. While it works in the majority of cases, the 21-year-old University of Wisconsin-Madison student who died of meningitis had reportedly gotten the vaccine, a booster, before starting college. It didn’t work, or, it didn’t work well enough or long enough. (It remains unknown whether his case is related to the New York City outbreak, but it’s thought not to).

Can you be exposed and not get sick?

Yes. Some people are exposed to meningitis and don’t get sick at all. Others are exposed and develop an immune response to the bacteria without becoming visibly ill, and without even knowing it. You will not, however, be a “carrier” of the disease if that happens to you. You would only be contagious during the same time period that anyone else with the disease would be contagious. (Though I didn’t clarify with Dr. Clark how long that would be in the case of someone who didn’t show any symptoms; nonetheless, it didn’t see like a long time, as he said you wouldn’t be a carrier, and you wouldn’t be contagious once you’re body developed the immunity.)

How long are people contagious?

The good thing and bad thing about this disease is that you generally get sick a day or two after you were exposed, though it’s possible, but unlikely, for it to take up to two weeks. The bad news is that you can become quite ill quickly, and if you don’t get medical help you can die. The good news is that the quick onset of the disease makes it harder to spread. Why? Because once you’re in bed sick as a dog, you really don’t feel like going online and hooking up, or going to a bar and drinking with your buddies. So the disease generally only gets a chance to spread in that 24 to 48 hour window after you’re first exposed and still feeling fine, which thus limits the spread of the disease.

Is this a gay disease?

No. I mentioned to Dr. Clark that some of the readers were confused as to why the warning went out to the gay community and not the straight community as well. How could a disease target only gay people? He said that it’s not a “gay” disease, and that meningitis usually targets schools, college campuses, and corrections facilities (i.e., a small enclosed communities). Occasionally, the disease can hit a virtual community, like the gay community. By “virtual,” he means that gay men are not a geographically-confined community, as are kids in the same high school building or college dorm, or men living in the same prison. So the community is more “virtual,” as the tie isn’t immediate geographic proximity per se (though obviously it’s affecting people within a discrete geography like New York City, but that’s different than actually living together in the same building and thus you all get sick).

Also, 98% of the cases in the U.S. every year are sporadic, they occur by themselves, rather than striking a community. Only a small fraction turn into “outbreaks” like this one in New York.

One more thing Dr. Clark noted was that this disease tends to strike in specific clusters, in specific communities, and it tends to stay confined to that community, without spreading to other communities. And that’s another reason why the warnings are only being given to gay men, and only, so far, in New York City.

Just how big is this outbreak?

Not big at all, actually, but big enough to be concerned. There was one case in 2010, four in 2011, and 13 in 2012. Those numbers may look small, but in public health terms, they’re not. What has experts worried is that they keep hitting the same community, gay men in New York City, and it’s not going away. Most outbreaks happen quickly, Dr. Clark told me, with usually just a few cases occurring at once in a short period of time, and then they go away. This has been going on in New York City since 2010 and it’s growing, rather than going away. Thus the concern.

I asked Dr. Clark about the concerns some people had that the current outbreak was blown out of proportion by the authorities in NY. He says that’s not true at all. Here’s why.

In public health terms, an “outbreak” is defined as 10 cases per 100,000 people within a short period of time (say, a few weeks). When you have an outbreak, that’s suggestive that the disease has reached a point where it may accelerate and spread to even more people. In public health circles, it’s their job to stop outbreaks from becoming something bigger. To the public, these numbers sound small. But in public health terms, these numbers are statistically significant and worthy of increased concern.

That’s why when they get two or three cases in a school of 600 kids, or a prison of a few thousand inmates, they vaccinate everyone to prevent the disease’s spread. That’s enough cases to set off alarm bells.

In NYC, we’re talking more on the order 13 or so cases last year. But, you might say, hey, that’s 13 cases for 8 million people, so who cares? But that’s not really correct. It’s not 8 million New Yorkers. It’s gay New Yorkers. And it’s only gay men who are getting sick, not lesbians, so now the number is cut down even fewer. And it’s not all gay men in NYC; it’s gay men in certain boroughs. And it’s not every gay men in those boroughs, it seems to be gay men in those boroughs who are sexually active and particularly using Web sites, phone apps, bars, and parties to meet guys. That cuts down the number even further. So you’re now a lot closer to that 100,000 figure than you were when you thought this was about 8 million New Yorkers.

The uncertainty of the size of the community exposed to this disease is part of what worries public health professionals. It’s not possible to accurately define whether we’re talking 13 cases per 100,000, per 200,000 or per 50,000. So they err on the side of caution because this is such a particularly deadly variant of the disease, killing one in every three people who get it, rather than the normal one in five. And in public health, you try to cut off disease before they become a huge problem. Thus you have to look at small numbers, and historically what those numbers tend to mean for the future, and act accordingly.

John Aravosis, editor of AMERICAblog, joint JD/MSFS from Georgetown, worked in the U.S. Senate, World Bank, Children’s Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. A frequent TV pundit, he has been on The O’Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline and Reliable Sources. He can be found on Twitter @aravosis. This article originally appeared on AMERICAblog.com.

Meningitis: When to Get Your Teen Vaccinated and How Often

Meningitis is a serious condition in which an infection leads to swelling of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be mistaken early on as a head cold or the flu due to symptoms like high fever and severe headache. But when left undiagnosed or untreated, meningitis can lead to severe complications. It can even be life-threatening.

The good news? There’s a way to protect your teen from bacterial meningitis and its complications: vaccination. Still, it’s not as simple as just going to the doctor for a meningitis shot. Learn more about the types of meningitis vaccines and when your teen should get them.

Types of vaccines

There isn’t one single meningitis vaccine that covers all types of meningitis. This is due to the fact that meningitis has more than one cause. According to the Mayo Clinic, most U.S. patients get meningitis from a viral infection. Bacteria, parasites, and fungal organisms can also cause meningitis.

However, bacterial meningitis tends to be the most dangerous type, causing more severe complications and, in some cases, death. The most common and concerning bacterial source is from the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. It’s the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the United States among people ages 2 to 18. It’s also the bacteria type that meningitis vaccines provide protection against.

Meningitis vaccines come in different forms for certain bacterial groups. Teens and young adults may receive the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), covering the four most common bacterial serotypes — A, C W, and Y — or the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (MenB). These are both used to prevent bacterial meningitis. MCV4 provides more long-term protection (especially when booster shots are taken when needed). MenB provides short-term protection against a particular strain of the infection.

When to get vaccinated

The key to the meningitis vaccines is to make sure that your teen gets them at the right time. Your child may get the MCV4 vaccine if they are:

  • Between 11 and 15 years old. After the initial MCV4 vaccine, your teen will get a booster shot after five years.
  • After the age of 16. In this case, your teen won’t need the booster shot. Important to note: It’s better to get the vaccines earlier rather than later. This will help prevent meningitis during your teen’s high school years.
  • First-year college students. This applies to those who haven’t received a diagnosis or missed their booster shots.
  • Those deemed by a pediatrician to need extra protection. This is due to underlying illnesses. Examples include immune system disorders or a damaged spleen.

Technically, the MenB vaccine is approved for children over the age of 10. Your doctor might recommend a dose at a younger age if your child has immune system deficiencies. But MenB is usually taken around the age of 16. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends MenB shots for teens ages 16 to 18. However, it may be given to young adults up to 23 years old.

Is it too late to get vaccinated?

The answer to this question isn’t so clear-cut. If you have an unvaccinated teen headed off to college, there is still time for them to get their vaccines. Your child may also need another shot if they had the vaccine as a preteen. Meningitis vaccines are thought to only last for about five years, according to the Center for Young Women’s Health.

Adults can also get the meningitis vaccine if their doctors recommend it. Certain situations can warrant the use of meningitis vaccinations. Examples include spleen removal, going to military camp, or traveling overseas.

What happens if you skip a vaccination?

Skipping on your teen’s meningitis vaccination doesn’t necessarily mean that your teen will get infected. But meningitis vaccines are arguably your teen’s best line of defense against this life-threatening infection. Because bacterial meningitis tends to be more aggressive and serious than other causes of meningitis, vaccination is the best way to protect your teen against bacterial meningitis.

It’s important to note that antibiotics don’t work against viral meningitis. Antivirals may help, but the viral form of meningitis is usually treated with time and bedrest. Antifungals and antibiotics can be used for other less common forms of meningitis. But they’re typically used as afterthoughts when the infection has already taken hold.

Meningococcal Meningitis Vaccine Singapore.

Meningococcal Meningitis Vaccine Singapore: Meningococcal vaccine jab/shot/injection schedule, to vaccinate against the Neisseria meningitidis / meningococcus, to immunise against meningococcal disease / meningitis / meningococcemia clinic, Singapore. Private and confidential service. Definitions, references, and latest news.

Polysaccharide and conjugated meningococcal vaccines

Internationally marketed meningococcal polysaccharide vaccines are bivalent (A and C), trivalent (A, C and W-135) or tetravalent (A, C, Y and W-135). The vaccines are purified, heat-stable, lyophilized capsular polysaccharides from meningococci of the respective serogroups.

Both group A and group C vaccines have documented short-term efficacy levels of 85–100% in older children and adults. However, group C vaccines do not prevent disease in children under 2 years of age, and the efficacy of group A vaccine in children under 1 year of age is unclear. Group Y and W-135 polysaccharides have been shown to be immunogenic only in children over 2 years of age.

A protective antibody response occurs within 10 days of vaccination. In schoolchildren and adults, the bivalent and tetravalent polysaccharide vaccines appear to provide protection for at least 3 years, but in children under 4 years the levels of specific antibodies decline rapidly after 2–3 years.

The currently available bivalent and tetravalent meningococcal vaccines are recommended for immunization of specific risk groups as well as for large-scale immunization, as appropriate, for the control of meningococcal outbreaks caused by vaccine-preventable serogroups (A and C, or A, C, Y, W-135 respectively). Travellers who have access to the tetravalent polysaccharide vaccine (A, C, Y, W-135) should opt for this rather than the bivalent vaccine because of the additional protection against groups Y and W-135.

These vaccines do not provide any protection against other serogroups such as group B and group X meningococci, which are important causes of meningococcal disease in some countries.

Precautions and contraindications — polysaccharide vaccine

The internationally available polysaccharide vaccines are safe, and significant systemic reactions have been extremely rare. The most common adverse reactions are erythema and slight pain at the site of injection for 1–2 days. Fever exceeding 38.5 °C occurs in up to 2% of vaccinees. No significant change in safety or reactogenicity has been observed when the different group-specific polysaccharides are combined into bivalent or tetravalent meningococcal vaccines.

Type of vaccine:
1) Purified bacterial capsular polysaccharide meningococcal vaccine (bivalent, trivalent or tetravalent)
2) Conjugate vaccines against A, C, Y, and W135
3) Conjugate MenA vaccine

Number of doses: One

Duration of protection: For 1 and 2: 3–5 years or more; for 3: not known

Contraindications: Serious adverse reaction to previous dose

Adverse reactions: Occasional mild local reactions; rarely, fever

Before departure: 2 weeks

Consider for: 1 and 2: all travellers to countries in the sub-Saharan meningitis belt and to areas with current epidemics; Hajj and Umrah pilgrims (required); 3: a cheaper alterative to 1 and 2 for travellers to highly endemic African countries

Special precautions: Children under 2 years of age are not protected by the vaccine

Conjugate meningococcal vaccines

A T-cell-dependent immune response is achieved through conjugation of the polysaccharide to a protein carrier. Conjugate vaccines are therefore associated with an increased immunogenicity among infants and prolonged duration of protection.

Monovalent serogroup C conjugate vaccines were first licensed for use in 1999 and are now incorporated in national vaccination programmes in an increasing number of countries. In contrast to group C polysaccharide vaccines, the group C conjugate vaccine elicits adequate antibody responses and immunological memory even in infants who are vaccinated at 2, 3 and 4 months of age. Cross-protection does not occur and travellers already immunized with conjugate vaccine against serogroup C are not protected against other serogroups.

In 2010, a conjugated serogroup A meningococcal vaccine designed particularly for use in the African “meningitis belt” received regulatory approval in India and in a few African countries. This vaccine, which is licensed for single-dose immunization of individuals 1–29 years of age, has proved to be safe and highly immunogenic. The conjugate MenA vaccine has been used in large vaccine campaigns in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger and is being progressively introduced in countries of the African meningitis belt.

Two tetravalent conjugate vaccines against serogroups A, C, Y and W-135 have been licensed in North America and are gradually becoming available in several other countries. In the United States and Canada these vaccines are licensed for individuals 2–55 years of age. A two-dose series of one of these vaccines is licensed also for children aged 9–23 months. These vaccines are expected to induce protection of similar efficacy to, but of longer duration than, that induced by the polysaccharide tetravalent meningococcal vaccine.

Vaccine types available for vaccination / immunisation (uk) / immunization (us) :

Vaccine Against Disease Age D
o
s
e
s
Dose schedule Price
per
dose
(SG$)
Live attenuated
MMR vaccine ≥12m 1 $70/=
  • Measles vaccine
Measles virus Measles
  • Mumps vaccine
Mumps virus Mumps
  • Rubella vaccine
Rubella virus Rubella
Varilrix™

  • Varicella vaccine
  • Chickenpox vaccine
Varicella zoster virus
HHV-3
Varicella Chickenpox 12m-12y 1 $95/=
≥13y 2 6-10w interval
Zostavax™

  • Herpes zoster vaccine
  • Shingles vaccine
Herpes zoster Shingles ≥50y 1 $295/=
Stamaril®

  • Yellow fever vaccine
Yellow fever virus Yellow fever 9m-59y 1 10 yearly $250/=
Inactivated / Whole / Viral & Bacterial
Rabipur®

  • Rabies vaccine
Rabies virus Rabies any 3 d 0, 7, & 21 or 28 $call/=
Ixiaro®

  • Japanese encephalitis vaccine
  • JE vaccine
Japanese encephalitis virus Japanese encephalitis ≥17y 2 2nd: 28d after 1st $386/=
1 Booster: 12-24m after 2nd
Dukoral®

  • Cholera vaccine
Vibrio cholerae Cholera 2-6y 3 1-6w interval $113/=
1 Booster: 6m after 3rd
≥6y 2 1-6w interval
1 Booster: 2y after 2nd
Inactivated / Fractional / Protein
Intanza™

  • Influenza vaccine
Influenza virus Influenza 18-59y 1 1 yearly $30/=
Fluarix™

  • Influenza vaccine
Influenza virus Influenza 6-36m ½ 1 yearly $30/=
>3y 1
Tetavax

  • Tetanus vaccine
Clostridium tetani Tetanus adults 3 1-2m interval
3rd @ 6-12m
after 2nd
$30/=
booster 1 10 yearly
Boostrix®

  • Tdap vaccine
  • DPT vaccine
  • DTP vaccine
≥4y 1 <10 yearly $70/=
  • Diphtheria vaccine
Corynebacterium diphtheriae Diphtheria
  • Tetanus vaccine
Clostridium tetani Tetanus
  • Pertussis vaccine
  • Whooping cough vaccine
Bordetella pertussis Pertussis
Whooping cough
Inactivated / Fractional / Polysaccharide / Pure
Typhim Vi®

  • Typhoid vaccine
Salmonella typhi Typhoid fever >5y 1 3 yearly $48/=
Mencevax® ACWY

  • MPSV4
  • Meningococcal Polysaccharide vaccine
  • MPSV
  • Meningococcal Meningitis vaccine
  • Meningococcal vaccine
  • Meningitis vaccine
Neisseria meningitidis
types A, C, W-135
and Y
Meningococcal meningitis >2y 1 $80/=
Inactivated / Fractional / Polysaccharide / Conjugate
Menactra®

  • MCV4
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine
  • MCV
  • Meningococcal Meningitis vaccine
  • Meningococcal vaccine
  • Meningitis vaccine
Neisseria meningitidis
types A, C, W-135
and Y
Meningococcal meningitis 2-55y 1 $195/=
Prevenar 13® (SG) /
Prevnar 13® (US)

  • PCV13
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
  • PCV
  • Pneumococcal Pneumonia vaccine
  • Pneumococcal vaccine
  • Pneumonia vaccine
Streptococcus pneumoniae
types 1, 3, 4, 5,
6A, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14,
18C, 19A, 19F, 23F
Pneumococcal infection 6w-6m 4 1m interval
4th @ 12-15m
$274/=
7-11m 2 1m interval
12-23m 2 2m interval
2-5y 1
≥50y 1

If the clinic attendance is just for vaccination alone, no additional consultation fees are charged.

Testing for immunity against the following is available:

Virus Antibody Test Price
Varicella zoster virus Varicella Zoster IgG Antibody $44/=
Measles virus Measles IgG Antibody $90/=
Rubella virus Rubella IgG Antibody $24/=
Hepatitis A virus Hepatitis A IgG Antibody $30/=
Hepatitis B virus Hepatitis B surface Antibody $10/=

Other vaccines not stocked

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b Vaccine / HIB Vaccine
  • Polio Vaccine
  • Rotavirus Vaccine
  • Tuberculosis Vaccine / TB Vaccine / BCG Vaccine
  • Tick-Borne Encephalitis Vaccine / TBE Vaccine

Vaccine Classification

  • Live attenuated
    • Viral: measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, yellow fever, oral polio.
    • Bacterial: BCG.
  • Inactivated
    • Whole
      • Viral: hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis, rabies.
      • Bacterial: cholera.
    • Fractional
      • Protein-Based
        • Toxoid: diphtheria, tetanus,
        • Subunit:
          • Protein isolation: pertussis, influenza,
          • Recombinant: hepatitis B, human papillomavirus,
      • Polysaccharide-Based
        • Pure: pneumococcal, meningococcal, typhoid (Vi),
        • Conjugate: pneumococcal, meningococcal,

Hajj vaccine / Haj vaccine / Umrah vaccine requirements for travel to Mecca, Saudi Arabia:

  • Meningococcal meningitis vaccine
  • Influenza vaccine

References STD vaccine / hepatitis vaccine shot/jab/injection to prevent some STDs

Vaccine schedule / vaccination schedule / immunisation schedule / immunization schedule :

Annex A

National Childhood and Adolescent Immunisation Schedule, Singapore
For persons aged 0 to

Vaccination against Birth 1 month 3 months 4 months 5 months 6 months 12 months 15 months 18 months 6-7 years^ 10-11 years^^
Tuberculosis BCG
Hepatitis B HepB (D1) HepB (D2) HepB (D3)#
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis DTaP (D1) DTaP (D2) DTaP (D3) DTaP (B1) Tdap (B2)
Poliovirus OPV (D1) OPV (D2) OPV (D3) OPV (B1) OPV (B2) OPV (B3)
Measles, Mumps, Rubella MMR (D1) MMR (D2)##
Pneumococcal Disease PCV (D1) PCV (D2) PCV (B1)
Human Papillomavirus Recommended for females 9 to 26 years; three doses are required at intervals of 0, 2, 6 months
Influenza Recommended annually for all children aged 6 months to
Notes:
BCG Bacillus Calmette-Guérin
HepB Hepatitis B vaccine
DTaP Paediatric diphtheria and tetanus toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine
Tdap Tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine
MMR Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine
OPV Oral polio vaccine
PCV Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
D1/D2/D3 1st dose, 2nd dose, 3rd dose
B1/B2/B3 1st booster, 2nd booster, 3rd booster
^ Primary 1
^^ Primary 5
# 3rd dose of HepB can be given with the 3rd dose of DTaP and OPV for the convenience of parents.
## 2nd dose of MMR can be given between 15-18 months

We offer teenage, adult and travel vaccination. Vaccines from the above list that we have are:

  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Tdap (tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis) vaccine: Boostrix®
  • MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine
  • PCV (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine): Prevenar 13®
  • HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine: Gardasil® & Cervarix®
  • Influenza vaccine

Meningococcal Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know

Key Facts

There are 2 types of meningococcal vaccines:

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

Who Should Get Meningococcal Vaccines?

CDC recommends meningococcal vaccination for all preteens and teens. In certain situations, CDC also recommends other children and adults get a meningococcal vaccine. Below is more information about which meningococcal vaccines CDC recommends for people by age.

Talk to your or your child’s clinician about what is best for your specific situation.

Preteens and Teens

Taking a complement inhibitor such as eculizumab (Soliris®) or ravulizumab (Ultomiris®) increases your risk for meningococcal disease. Even if you received meningococcal vaccines, you could still get meningococcal disease.

All 11 to 12 year olds should get a MenACWY vaccine, with a booster dose at 16 years old. Teens may also get a MenB vaccine, preferably at 16 through 18 years old.

While any teen may choose to get a MenB vaccine, certain preteens and teens should get it if they:

  • Have a rare type of immune disorder called complement component deficiency
  • Are taking a type of medicine called a complement inhibitor (for example, Soliris® or Ultomiris®)
  • Have a damaged spleen or their spleen has been removed
  • Are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak

Get more information about meningococcal vaccine recommendations for teenagers: Meningococcal Vaccination for Preteens and Teens: Information for Parents.

Babies and Children

Helpful Terms

  • Neisseria meningitidis: The bacteria that cause meningococcal disease
  • Serogroup: A group of bacteria that are closely related; there are 6 serogroups of Neisseria meningitidis that cause most meningococcal disease in the world — A, B, C, W, X, and Y

CDC recommends a MenACWY vaccine for children who are between 2 months and 10 years old if they:

  • Have a rare type of immune disorder called complement component deficiency
  • Are taking a type of medicine called a complement inhibitor (for example, Soliris® or Ultomiris®)
  • Have a damaged spleen or their spleen has been removed
  • Have HIV
  • Are traveling to or residing in countries in which the disease is common
  • Are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup A, C, W, or Y meningococcal disease outbreak

Talk to your child’s clinician to find out if, and when, they will need booster shots.

CDC recommends a MenB vaccine for children 10 years or older if they:

  • Have a rare type of immune disorder called complement component deficiency
  • Are taking a type of medicine called a complement inhibitor (for example, Soliris® or Ultomiris®)
  • Have a damaged spleen or their spleen has been removed
  • Are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak

Adults

CDC recommends a MenACWY vaccine for adults if they:

  • Have a rare type of immune disorder called complement component deficiency
  • Are taking a type of medicine called a complement inhibitor (for example, Soliris® or Ultomiris®)
  • Have a damaged spleen or their spleen has been removed
  • Have HIV
  • Are a microbiologist who is routinely exposed to Neisseria meningitidis
  • Are traveling to or residing in countries in which the disease is common
  • Are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup A, C, W, or Y meningococcal disease outbreak
  • Are not up to date with this vaccine and are a first-year college student living in a residence hall
  • Are a military recruit

Talk to your clinician to find out if, and when, you will need booster shots.

CDC recommends a MenB vaccine for adults if they:

  • Have a rare type of immune disorder called complement component deficiency
  • Are taking a type of medicine called a complement inhibitor (for example, Soliris® or Ultomiris®)
  • Have a damaged spleen or their spleen has been removed
  • Are a microbiologist who is routinely exposed to Neisseria meningitidis
  • Are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak

Who Should Not Get These Vaccines?

Because of age or health conditions, some people should not get certain vaccines or should wait before getting them. Read the guidelines below and ask your or your child’s clinician for more information.

Tell the person who is giving you or your child a meningococcal vaccine if:

You or your child have had a life-threatening allergic reaction or have a severe allergy.

  • Do not get a meningococcal vaccine if
    • You have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a previous dose of that meningococcal vaccine.
    • You have a severe allergy to any part of that vaccine. Your or your child’s clinician can tell you about the vaccine’s ingredients.

You are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Pregnant women who are at increased risk for serogroup A, C, W, or Y meningococcal disease may get MenACWY vaccines.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women who are at increased risk for serogroup B meningococcal disease may get MenB vaccines. However, they should talk with a clinician to decide if the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the risk.

You or your child are not feeling well.

  • People who have a mild illness, such as a cold, can probably get these vaccines. People who have a moderate or severe illness should probably wait until they recover. Your or your child’s clinician can advise you.

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What Types of Meningococcal Vaccines Are There?

There are 2 types of meningococcal vaccines available in the United States:

  • MenACWY (conjugate) vaccines (Menactra® and Menveo®)
  • MenB (recombinant) vaccines (Bexsero® and Trumenba®)

MenACWY Vaccines

Helpful Terms

  • Conjugate: A type of vaccine that joins a protein to an antigen in order to improve the protection the vaccine provides
  • Recombinant: A type of vaccine where the protein antigen is put into a harmless virus or bacterium that then makes copies of the antigen that the immune system recognizes and creates protective antibodies against
  • Menactra®external icon: Clinicians give 2 doses to preteens and teens. Clinicians also give it to certain people at increased risk of meningococcal disease. It helps protect against 4 types of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease (serogroups A, C, W, and Y).
  • Menveo®external icon: Clinicians give 2 doses to preteens and teens. Clinicians also give it to certain people at increased risk of meningococcal disease. It helps protect against 4 types of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease (serogroups A, C, W, and Y).

MenB Vaccines

  • Bexsero®external icon: Clinicians give it as a 2-dose series to people 16 through 23 years old who are not at increased risk of meningococcal disease. Clinicians also give it as a 2-dose series to people 10 years or older at increased risk of meningococcal disease. It helps protect against serogroup B meningococcal disease.
  • Trumenba®external icon: Clinicians give it as a 2-dose series to people 16 through 23 years old who are not at increased risk of meningococcal disease. Clinicians give it as a 3-dose series to people 10 years or older at increased risk of meningococcal disease. It helps protect against serogroup B meningococcal disease.

How Well Do These Vaccines Work?

Summary

Vaccines that help protect against meningococcal disease work well, but cannot prevent all cases.

As part of the licensure process, MenACWY and MenB vaccines showed that they produce an immune response. This immune response suggests the vaccines provide protection, but data are limited on how well they work. Since meningococcal disease is uncommon, many people need to get these vaccines in order to measure their effectiveness.

Available data suggest that protection from MenACWY vaccines decreases in many teens within 5 years. Getting the 16-year-old booster dose is critical to maintaining protection when teens are most at risk for meningococcal disease. Available data on MenB vaccines suggest that protective antibodies also decrease quickly (within 1 to 2 years) after vaccination.

In Depth

Today, meningococcal disease is at a historic low in the United States. Rates of meningococcal disease have been declining in the United States since the 1990s. Much of the decline occurred before the routine use of MenACWY vaccines. In addition, serogroup B meningococcal disease declined even though MenB vaccines were not available until the end of 2014.

CDC first recommended preteens and teens get a MenACWY vaccine in 2005. Since then, rates of meningococcal disease in teens caused by serogroups C, Y, and W has decreased by over 90%. This is a larger percent decline than seen in other groups for which CDC does not recommend routine MenACWY vaccination. These data suggest MenACWY vaccines provide protection to those vaccinated, but probably not to the larger, unvaccinated community (herd immunity). Experts also believe MenB vaccines do not provide protection to unvaccinated people through herd immunity.

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What Are the Possible Side Effects of Meningococcal Vaccines?

Most people who get a meningococcal vaccine do not have any serious problems with it. With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days, but serious reactions are possible.

Mild Problems

Mild problems following MenACWY vaccination can include:

  • Reactions where the shot was given
    • Redness
    • Pain
  • Fever
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired

If these problems occur, they usually last for 1 or 2 days.

Mild problems following a MenB vaccination can include:

  • Reactions where the shot was given
    • Soreness
    • Redness
    • Swelling
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Fever or chills
  • Nausea or diarrhea

If these problems occur, they can last up to 3 to 5 days.

Problems that Could Happen After Getting Any Injected Vaccine

  • People sometimes faint after a medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting, and injuries caused by a fall. Tell the clinician if you or your child feel dizzy, have vision changes, or have ringing in the ears.
  • Some people get severe pain in the shoulder and have difficulty moving the arm where the clinician gave a shot. This happens very rarely.
  • Any medicine can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions from a vaccine are very rare, estimated at about 1 in a million doses. These reactions happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
  • As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.

For more information on possible side effects from vaccination, visit CDC’s Possible Side effects from Vaccines webpage.

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Where Can I Find These Vaccines?

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Your clinician is usually the best place to receive recommended vaccines for you or your child.

These vaccines are part of the routine childhood immunization schedule. Therefore, vaccines for children and teens are regularly available at

  • Pediatric and family practice offices
  • Community health clinics
  • Public health departments

If your clinician does not have these vaccines for adults, ask for a referral.

Vaccines may also be available at

  • Pharmacies
  • Workplaces
  • Community health clinics
  • Health departments
  • Other community locations, such as schools and religious centers

Federally funded health centers can also provide services if you do not have a regular source of health care. Locate one near youexternal icon. You can also contact your state health department to learn more about where to get vaccines in your community.

When receiving any vaccine, ask the provider to record the vaccine in the state or local registry, if available. This helps clinicians at future encounters know what vaccines you or your child have already received.

How Do I Pay for These Vaccines?

People can pay for meningococcal vaccines in several ways:

Private Health Insurance

Most private health insurance plans cover these vaccines. Check with your insurance provider for details on whether there is any cost to you. Ask your insurance provider for a list of in-network vaccine providers.

Vaccines for Children Program

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program provides vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. A child is eligible if they are younger than 19 years old and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Medicaid-eligible
  • Uninsured
  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Underinsured (have health insurance that does not cover vaccines or does not cover certain vaccines)

If your child is VFC-eligible, ask if your clinician is a VFC provider. For help in finding a VFC provider near you, contact your state or local health department’s VFC Program Coordinator. You can also call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).

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Related Pages

  • CDC’s Meningococcal Disease Website
  • Educational Materials on Meningococcal Disease
    • Adult Vaccine Assessment Tool: What Vaccines Do You Need?
    • Meningococcal Vaccination for Preteens and Teens: Information for Parents
  • Immunization Schedules
    • Recommended Vaccinations for Children (7 through 18 Years Old)
    • Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule for Ages 19 Years or Older
  • Meningococcal Vaccine Information Statements
    • MenACWY (English / Other Languagesexternal icon)
    • MenB (English / Other Languagesexternal icon)
  • Vaccine Safety
    • CDC’s Vaccine Safety Website
    • Meningococcal Vaccine Safety Website: A Closer Look at the Safety Data
    • Frequently Asked Questions about Vaccine Safety
  • Meningococcal ACWY State Mandates for Elementary and Secondary Schoolsexternal icon
    Find out the MenACWY vaccination mandates for elementary and secondary schools in your state
  • Vaccines for Children Program
  • Information for the General Public: Cochlear Implants and Vaccination Recommendations

Your Child’s Immunizations: Meningococcal Vaccines

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The meningococcal vaccines protect against meningococcal disease, a serious infection that can lead to bacterial meningitis and other serious infections.

Two kinds of meningococcal (meh-nin-guh-KOK-uhl) vaccines are currently given to kids in the United States:

    1. The meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against four types of meningococcal bacteria (called types A, C, W, and Y). It is recommended for all kids.
    2. The meningococcal B vaccine (MenB) protects against a fifth type of meningococcal bacterium (called type B). It is fairly new and not yet recommended as a routine vaccination for healthy people, but might be given to some kids and teens (ages 16 through 23) who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease.

When Are Meningococcal Vaccines Given?

Vaccination with meningococcal conjugate vaccine is recommended:

  • when kids are 11 or 12 years old, with a booster given at age 16
  • for teens 13–18 years old who haven’t been previously vaccinated

Those who have their first dose between the ages of 13–15 should get a booster dose between the ages of 16–18. Teens who get their first dose after age 16 (for example, previously unvaccinated college freshmen who will be living in dorms or those entering the military) won’t need a booster dose.

A full series of the meningococcal conjugate vaccines should be given to kids and teens who are at higher risk for meningococcal disease (even if younger than 11 years old), including those who:

  • live in or travel to countries where the disease is common
  • are present during an outbreak of the disease
  • have certain immune disorders. If the immune disorders are chronic, these kids also need a booster dose a few years later, depending on the age at which the first dose is given.

The sequence and dosage will depend on the child’s age, medical condition, and vaccine brand. Some types of meningococcal vaccines can be given as early as 8 weeks of age.

Kids 10 years and older with these risk factors also should get a full series of the MenB vaccine.

For those without risk factors, the decision to receive the MenB vaccine should be made together by the teen, his or her parents, and the doctor. For these kids, the preferred age range is 16–18 years. Two or three doses are needed depending on the brand.

Why Are Meningococcal Vaccines Recommended?

Meningococcal disease is caused by a type of bacteria. It can lead to an infection of the bloodstream or meningitis, or both, and can be life-threatening if not quickly treated. The meningococcal conjugate vaccine is very effective at protecting against four strains of the bacteria, while the MenB vaccine protects against a fifth strain.

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Meningococcal Vaccines?

Some of the most common side effects are swelling, redness, and pain at the site of the injection, along with headache, fever, or tiredness. Severe problems, such as allergic reactions, are rare.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

The vaccine is not recommended if:

  • your child is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
  • your child has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of meningococcal vaccine, to the DTaP vaccine, or to latex

What Happens After the Immunization?

Your child might have a fever, soreness, and some swelling and redness in the area where the shot was given. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain or fever and to find out the appropriate dose.

A warm, damp cloth or a heating pad on the injection site may help reduce soreness, as can moving or using the arm.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

  • Call if you aren’t sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided.
  • Call if there are problems after the immunization.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD Date reviewed: March 2019

Two Meningitis B Vaccines Have Been Approved in the US. So Why Are Young People Still Dying From It?

When it came to her sons’ medical care, Aracelly Bibl did everything right. She prioritized the health of her three boys, knew their pediatrician’s phone number by heart, and made sure they were up to date on their recommended vaccinations.

But all of her diligence still didn’t protect her oldest child, Joseph Clouse, from meningitis B, which killed him this past February. He was 18 years old.

His obituary says simply, “Joseph Tyler Clouse was stolen from us within a matter of hours on February 13, 2019, due to meningococcal septicaemia, caused by a rare and aggressive form of bacterial meningitis B.”

Clouse isn’t the first otherwise healthy young adult to be killed by meningitis B—an inflammation of the linings of the brain and spinal cord that can be caused by bacteria or a virus. But it’s especially heartbreaking, because a vaccine that could have prevented him from contracting this dangerous illness came on the market in the US five years ago.

RELATED: 11 Things You Need to Know About Meningitis

In fact, two vaccines that protect against meningitis B have been approved by the FDA: Bexsero, which was approved in 2015, and Trumenba, approved in 2014. Both Bexsero and Trumenba are given in a two-dose series. The CDC says the shots should preferably be administered between ages 16 and 18.

So why are young adults like Clouse dying from a disease that can be prevented by not one but two approved vaccinations that are widely covered by insurers?

Image zoom Courtesy of subject

It boils down to the meningitis B vaccine recommendation made by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) after the first meningitis B vaccine hit the market. The ACIP is a group of external advisors to the CDC whose official recommendations guide vaccine policy nationwide. If the ACIP decides all children should get a specific vaccine, pediatricians will communicate this to parents.

But if the group decides that a certain vaccine doesn’t need the strongest possible recommendation—which is the case with the meningitis B vaccine—there’s a good chance pediatricians won’t let parents know about it anyway, so parents have no reason to consider giving it to their children. (The chair of the ACIP, José R. Romero, MD, turned down Health’s request for comment.)

This is what happened to Bibl. Because the CDC, relying on the guidance of the ACIP, didn’t recommend the meningitis B vaccine to all children, her pediatrician didn’t inform her that it even existed—and could have prevented her son’s death.

RELATED: The Real Reason Record Numbers of College Students Are Seeking Mental Health Treatment

What is meningitis B?

“While it’s not very common, if you get meningococcal B, it is a nasty disease,” Litjen Tan, MD, chief strategy officer at the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), tells Health. The IAC is a national nonprofit authority on vaccination policies that aims to increase immunization rates.

Meningitis B is more prevalent among 18 to 24-year-old college students than kids and adults in other age groups; that’s because it’s easier for infections to spread among young adults living in cramped living quarters, such as dorms. Symptoms of the disease include sudden high fever, stiff neck, severe headache, nausea, and vomiting, as well as convulsions, rapid breathing, and confusion. A dark purple rash will usually appear on the arms, legs, or torso, too.

Part of what makes meningitis B so deadly is that many students and parents don’t know about it, and many symptoms mimic those of more common illnesses, such as the flu. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for a college student to assume they had the flu and then try to sleep off some of the symptoms. But if they actually have meningitis B and try that approach, there’s a good chance the illness will overcome them and turn fatal.

Both Alicia Stillman and Patti Wukovits lost their daughters to meningitis B. Wukovits’ daughter, Kimberly Coffey, was 17 and a senior in high school when she succumbed to the illness in 2012. Emily Stillman was a college sophomore when she died from meningitis B in 2013. Both mothers have since created the Meningitis B Action Project to build awareness of the disease that killed both their daughters before the vaccine were approved. They spoke to Health about how meningitis B forever changed their families.

“Kimberly was perfectly healthy. Sitting in her classroom. Next day she’s in the ICU fighting for her life,” Wukovits recalls.

Stillman echos her heartbreak. “People think so rare. But when it’s your child, 100% of that child just died. It doesn’t matter what the statistics are,” she says.

Stillman and Wukovits now work to educate parents and students about the dangers of meningitis B. But to their frustration, even after years of telling their stories, neither of the approved meningitis B vaccines have been recommended for the majority of American adolescents.

“It’s really disappointing,” says Stillman. “Here we are six-and-a-half years . Kids are still dying. We reach out to the academic community, the medical community, parents, counties, and states. So where is the ball dropping?”

RELATED: 16 Reasons You Have Serious Brain Fog

Which meningitis vaccination do people usually get?

The ACIP strongly recommends that all preteens between ages 11 and 12 get the single vaccine that protects against four types of meningitis: A, C, W, and Y. Because of this recommendation, these four meningitis illnesses are almost unseen in the US, Dr. Tan says.

Meningitis B is not unseen, however. “Over 50% of all cases in the United States are caused by serogroup B. All college outbreaks since 2011 caused by serogroup B. Why are we not even mentioning men B? It doesn’t make sense,” Stillman says. Also alarming is that most colleges don’t require the meningitis B vaccination when a young person enrolls (even though the American College Health Association has called out the dangers of meningitis B).

The ACIP used to give the meningitis B vaccine a “category B recommendation,” says Dr. Tan. This was opposed to the stronger category A recommendation. The ACIP started using different language in February 2018, and vaccines are no longer given category A or B recommendations by the ACIP.

“A mistake was made by calling it category B. The label kind of carried,” Dr. Tan says. Now, instead of labeling the meningitis B vaccines as “category B,” the ACIP says the vaccine should be administered based on “clinical decision making.”

What this translates to is “let’s recommend it for individuals based on clinical decision making,” Dr. Tan says. “The doctor’s job is to talk to you and say, ‘We have this vaccine.’” However, that conversation doesn’t always happen when soon-to-be college freshmen check in with their pediatrician right before heading off to school—if they even check in at all.

Says Stillman: “The ACIP has said it’s a clinical decision to be made between the medical professional and the parent. If that’s the case, I interpret that to be that if a parent is tasked with making this decision for their young person, or the young person is going to make the decision, they need to know there is a decision to be made. They need to know of its existence. How are we certain that they know about it? Many still don’t.”

Stillman adds that young people who receive only the meningitis A, C, W, Y vaccination are merely partially protected. She likens the question of “Do you want your child to also receive the meningitis B vaccine?” to “Do you want them to be 100% protected—or just 80%?”

“What parent is going to say, ‘No, thank you. I’ll stick with 80’?”

RELATED: 7 Things You Need to Know About Vaccines

Why is the meningitis B vaccine not recommended as strongly as the A,C, W, Y vaccine?

In short: cost. Dr. Tan says there’s a problem with formally recommending a meningitis B vaccination for every young person in the US. “We’re not infinitely rich. The resources to vaccinate every adolescent in our country—it’s immense. It’s just not practical,” he explains.

That said, the current recommendation isn’t working either.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to manage this. We’re depriving people of a very good vaccine who might want to get protected,” Dr. Tan says. He places the blame on doctors who don’t bring up the disease or the vaccine when they meet with their patients. “That’s an implementation problem. If you fail to talk about B vaccine, you’re failing your patients. need to have an internal policy where everybody agrees you’re going to talk about the vaccine,” Dr. Tan says.

RELATED: Do Adults Need a Measles Vaccine? Experts Say It Depends

What do parents and young people need to know?

Stillman and Wukovits continue to speak out about the vaccine that could have saved their daughters’ lives. However, parents still aren’t warned about the option to get Bexsero or Trumenba for their children.

Says Bibl: “Nobody ever said—doctors never said, ‘Oh, you’re a college student. There’s another vaccine for meningitis B. Have you been vaccinated for it? Most people aren’t. The pediatrician never brought up the other vaccine because they don’t know.”

Would Bibl have insisted on the vaccine for Joseph had she known about it? “I would have done it in a second if I knew. I didn’t know. Parents should be made aware. We should all have the choice. Also, colleges should require it. I don’t think we should be waiting until somebody dies for a college to decide, ‘Now we’re going to offer the vaccine or make it a requirement.’”

If your child is in college or headed there soon, ask their doctor about the meningitis B vaccine—because they might not.

Stillman sums up the issue, saying, “How many is okay? It’s okay for one to die? More? What’s the magic number?”

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Meningococcal Vaccination for Preteens and Teens: Information for Parents

On This Page

  • Meningococcal Vaccines
  • MenACWY Vaccines
  • MenB Vaccines

CDC recommends meningococcal vaccination for all preteens and teens. All 11 to 12 year olds should receive a single dose of a meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccine. Since protection decreases over time, CDC recommends a booster dose at age 16 years. The booster dose provides protection during the ages when teens are at highest risk of meningococcal disease. Teens and young adults (16 through 23 year olds) also may receive a serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) vaccine. The preferred age to get MenB vaccine is 16 through 18 years old. Talk with your teen’s clinician about meningococcal vaccination to help protect your child’s health.

Meningococcal Vaccines

Preteens and teens are at increased risk for meningococcal disease, an uncommon but serious illness.

Meningococcal disease can be devastating and often—and unexpectedly—strikes otherwise healthy people. Although meningococcal disease is uncommon, teens and young adults 16 through 23 years old are at increased risk. Meningococcal bacteria can cause severe, even deadly, infections like

  • Meningitis (an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord)
  • Bacteremia or septicemia (bloodstream infections)

About 1 in 5 people who survive their meningococcal infection have permanent disabilities.

There are 2 types of meningococcal vaccines available in the United States. Each type helps protect your child against different serogroups (strains) of meningococcal disease.

MenACWY vaccines provide protection against 4 serogroups: A, C, W, and Y. MenB vaccines provide protection against 1 serogroup: B. Currently no meningococcal vaccine offers protection against these 5 serogroups in 1 shot.

Your child can get MenACWY and MenB vaccine at the same time.

Your child’s clinician can give both types of meningococcal vaccines during the same visit, but preferably in different arms. If you choose for your child to get a MenB vaccine, the preferred timing is between 16 and 18 years old. So it’s possible your child will get this vaccine and the MenACWY booster dose at the same visit.

MenACWY Vaccines

A MenACWY booster shot helps protect your teen during the ages they are at highest risk of meningococcal disease.

Protection from a single dose of MenACWY vaccine declines in most teens within 5 years. Teens need a booster dose at age 16 years to provide protection during the ages when they are at highest risk.

Many colleges require proof of MenACWY vaccination within 5 years before starting school.

Regardless of school requirements, CDC recommends a booster dose for all teens who received the first dose before their 16th birthday. The booster dose provides the best protection during the ages when teens are at highest risk. Teens who receive their first MenACWY vaccine dose at or after age 16 years do not need a booster dose.

MenACWY vaccines are safe. However, as with any vaccine, side effects can occur.

About half of the people who get a MenACWY vaccine have mild problems following vaccination, such as:

  • Redness where the shot was given
  • Pain where the shot was given
  • A mild fever

These reactions usually get better on their own within 1 to 2 days, but serious reactions are possible.

CDC continually monitors the safety of all vaccines, including MenACWY vaccines. For more information, view the Meningococcal ACWY Vaccine Information Statement.

It does not matter which brand of MenACWY vaccine your child receives.

CDC has no preference as to which brand (Menactra® or Menveo®) of a MenACWY vaccine your child receives.

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MenB Vaccines

There are many ways to find a MenB vaccine provider near you.

Your child’s doctor may already have these vaccines in their office. College health centers or pharmacies may also have them available. Use the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to find a vaccine provider near youexternal icon.

If you’re interested in having your child vaccinated with a MenB vaccine, talk to your child’s clinician.

CDC does not routinely recommend a MenB vaccine for all teens and young adults. However, all teens may get vaccinated, preferably at 16 to 18 years old.

Serogroup B meningococcal disease is relatively rare. Outbreaks have occurred at several U.S. colleges during the past decade. CDC’s current recommendation gives people access to MenB vaccines to help prevent this uncommon, but serious illness. However, clinicians and parents should discuss the risk of the disease and weigh the risks and benefits of vaccination. Available data suggest these vaccines are safe and provide protection, but that protection decreases fairly quickly after vaccination.

MenB vaccines are safe. However, as with any vaccine, side effects can occur.

Available data suggest that MenB vaccines are safe. More than half of the people who get a MenB vaccine have mild problems following vaccination:

  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Fever or chills
  • Nausea or diarrhea

These reactions usually get better on their own within 3 to 5 days, but serious reactions are possible.

Teens are more likely to have side effects after MenB vaccination compared to other vaccines given to preteens and teens. Those other vaccines include HPV, MenACWY, and Tdap vaccines.

CDC continually monitors the safety of all vaccines, including MenB vaccines. For more information, view the Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccine Information Statement.

Most health insurance plans pay for MenB vaccination for teens and young adults.

Most health plans must cover CDC-recommended vaccines with no out-of-pocket costs if an in-network healthcare provider administers the vaccine. Patients should check with their insurance provider for details on whether there is any cost to them for this vaccine.

The Vaccines for Children, or VFC, program provides vaccines for children 18 and younger who are

  • Not insured
  • Medicaid-eligible
  • American Indian or Alaska Native

Parents can find a VFC provider by contacting their local health department. VFC will cover the cost of MenB vaccination for those

  • 16 through 18 years old
  • 10 through 18 years old at increased risk due to a medical condition
  • 10 through 18 years old identified as being at increased risk due to a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak

It does not matter which brand of a MenB vaccine your child receives.

CDC has no preference as to which brand (Bexsero® or Trumenba®) of MenB vaccine your child receives. Both brands require multiple doses. People must get the same vaccine brand for all doses.

Your child needs multiple doses of MenB vaccine.

Both MenB vaccines require more than 1 dose for maximum protection.

Related Pages

Meningococcal

Meningococcal (muh-nin-jeh-KOK-el) disease used to cause thousands of serious infections every year. Thanks to vaccines, there are fewer cases of meningococcal disease in the United States than ever before.

There are 2 types of meningococcal vaccines:

  • The MenACWY vaccine for preteens, teens, and children and adults with certain health conditions
  • The MenB vaccine for people age 10 years and older who have certain health conditions — or are in an area with an outbreak of serogroup B meningococcal disease

Why are meningococcal vaccines important?

Meningococcal disease is rare, but people do get it — and teens, young adults, and people with certain health conditions are at increased risk. Meningococcal disease can cause serious infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord or the blood.

Protection from these infections is especially important because they can quickly become very dangerous — in fact, they can be deadly in just a few hours.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent meningococcal disease.

What is meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal disease is caused by a type of bacteria. Some people get the germs that cause meningococcal disease, but don’t get sick — these people are called “carriers.” But others get meningococcal disease, which can cause serious infections. The most common are meningitis and septicemia.

Meningococcal meningitis is inflammation of the thin lining that covers the brain and spinal cord. Some common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Feeling confused
  • Upset stomach and throwing up
  • Being less active than usual, fussing, throwing up, and not wanting to eat (in babies)

Meningococcal septicemia is an infection of the bloodstream that causes bleeding into the skin and organs. Some common symptoms include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Feeling tired
  • Throwing up and diarrhea (watery poop)
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Severe aches or pain in the muscles, joints, chest, or stomach

As many as 1 in 5 people who survive meningococcal disease will have long-term disabilities — like hearing loss or brain damage.

Meningococcal bacteria spread through saliva or spit, usually through:

  • Direct contact, like when a person who has the bacteria in their nose or throat coughs on or kisses someone
  • Ongoing contact, like living with a person who has the disease

Learn more about meningococcal disease.

Who needs to get meningococcal vaccines?

All preteens and teens need to get the meningococcal vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

See the routine vaccination schedule for:

  • Infants and children
  • Preteens and teens
  • Adults

Meningococcal vaccines are also recommended for people at increased risk for meningococcal disease. This may include people who:

  • Live in places where people are in close contact with each other (like college dorms)
  • Have certain medical conditions, like HIV
  • Are traveling to a certain part of sub-Saharan Africa known as the “meningitis belt”

MenACWY vaccine

The MenACWY vaccine is recommended for:

  • Preteens and teens ages 11 through 18 (2 doses)
  • Children and adults age 2 months and older and adults who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease (doses may vary)

MenB vaccine

The MenB vaccine is recommended for children and adults age 10 years and older who are at increased risk for serogroup B meningococcal disease (doses may vary). In addition, all teens may be vaccinated with a MenB vaccine, preferably at age 16 through 18. Multiple doses are required and the same brand must be used for all doses.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from meningococcal disease.

Who should not get meningococcal vaccines?

You should not get a meningococcal vaccine if you have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the meningococcal vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine.

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have serious allergies of any kind
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the meningococcal vaccine.

What are the side effects of meningococcal vaccines?

Side effects from the meningococcal vaccines are usually mild and go away in a few days.

MenACWY vaccines

Side effects of the MenACWY vaccine may include:

  • Pain or redness where the shot was given
  • Low fever

Side effects of the MenB vaccine may include:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache Muscle or joint pain
  • Fever or chills
  • Upset stomach and diarrhea (watery poop)

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that meningococcal vaccines could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting a meningococcal vaccine is much safer than getting meningococcal disease. Learn more about vaccine side effects.

Where can I get more information about meningococcal vaccines?

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines. Read the VISs for vaccines that protect against meningococcal disease:

  • MenACWY vaccine
  • MenB vaccine

Find the VISs for these vaccines in other languages.

Meningococcal disease

Vaccine

Polysaccharide vaccines

Internationally marketed meningococcal polysaccharide vaccines are bivalent (A and C), trivalent (A, C and W-135) or tetravalent (A, C, Y and W-135). The vaccines are purified, heat-stable, lyophilized capsular polysaccharides from meningococci of the respective serogroups.

Following one dose, both group A and group C vaccines have documented short-term efficacy levels of 85–100% in older children and adults. However, group C vaccines do not prevent disease in children under 2 years of age, and the efficacy of group A vaccine in children under 1 year of age is unclear. Group Y and W-135 polysaccharides have been shown to be immunogenic only in children over 2 years of age.

A protective antibody response occurs within 10 days of vaccination. In schoolchildren and adults, one dose of these polysaccharide vaccines appears to provide protection for at least 3 years, but in children under 4 years of age the levels of specific antibodies decline rapidly after 2–3 years.

Adverse events and precautions – polysaccharide vaccine

The internationally available polysaccharide vaccines are safe, and significant systemic reactions are very rare. The most common adverse reactions are erythema and slight pain at the site of injection for 1–2 days. Fever exceeding 38.5 ºC occurs in up to 2% of vaccinees. No significant change in safety or reactogenicity has been observed when the group-specific monovalent vaccines are combined into bivalent or tetravalent meningococcal vaccines.

Special precautions: Children under 2 years of age are not protected by the vaccine
Conjugate meningococcal vaccines
Conjugation of the bacterial polysaccharide to a protein carrier induces a T-cell-dependent immune response characterizedby increased immunogenicity among infants, prolonged duration of protection, and reduced nasopharyngeal carriage of meningococci. Conjugate meningococcal vaccines are available as monovalent serogroup A and serogroup C vaccines; bivalent serogroups A, C vaccine; and tetravalent serogroups A, C, Y, W-135 vaccine.
These vaccines are highly immunogenic (>90%), although protective antibody titres are not long-lasting in young children. Cross29 protection between different meningococcal serogroups does not occur.

Monovalent serogroup C conjugate vaccines were first licensed for use in 1999 and are now incorporated in national vaccination programmes in an increasing number of countries. In contrast to group C polysaccharide vaccines, the group C conjugate vaccine elicits adequate antibody responses and immunological memory even in infants who are vaccinated at 2, 3 and 4 months of age.

A combination vaccine based on Haemophilus influenza type b and Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C vaccines (HibMecC) is also marketed.

In 2010, a conjugated serogroup A meningococcal vaccine designed particularly for use in the African meningitis belt received regulatory approval in India and in a few African countries. This vaccine, which is licensed for single-dose immunization of individuals 1–29 years of age, has proved to be safe and highly immunogenic.

Three tetravalent conjugate vaccines against serogroups A, C, Y and W-135 meningococci are now licensed internationally. They differ in the conjugate carrier protein (CRM 197, tetanus toxoid, and diphtheria toxoid), but all are administered intramuscularly and show similar immunogenicity. In Canada and the United States, these vaccines are licensed for single-dose immunization of individuals 2– 55 years of age. In addition, two of these vaccines offer a two-dose schedule for children aged 9-23 months.

In 2012, a conjugate tetravalent vaccine that can be administered as a single dose from the age of 1 year was licensed in Europe.

Adverse events and precautions– conjugated vaccines

All meningococcal conjugate vaccines have an excellent safety record. None has been associated with any serious adverse effects during clinical trials or in post-marketing surveillance. Redness, swelling and pain at the site of injection may occur, however. Such reactions usually start within the first day after immunization and last 13 days. Less commonly, children may develop a fever or be irritable for a short period.

Travellers should be aware that protection induced by meningococcal vaccines is strictly serotype-specific and that tetravalent vaccine offers the widest range of protection. However, tetravalent meningococcal vaccines do not protect against meningococci of serogroups B and X which are common causes of meningococcal disease in some countries.

Required vaccinations: Saudi Arabia demands proof of recent meningococcal vaccination (tetravalent vaccine) as a visa requirement for pilgrims and guest workers. See 6.4 “Required vaccinations”.

While the meningitis vaccine is crucial for health during college, this post does not mention all available vaccines for the disease. A separate vaccine is recommended to protect against the meningitis B strain. The routine meningitis immunization does help prevent the A, C, W and Y strains, but a different vaccine is needed for meningitis B.

The meningitis B vaccine is fairly new, but is recommended for anyone between the ages of 16 and 23. The meningitis B vaccine is available at all Passport Health clinics.

College can be a scary first experience for freshman. New school, new friends, new living arrangements and new exposures to health risks. In locations across the United States, meningitis outbreaks have hit colleges and other schools.

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis causes swelling in the spinal fluid and protective membranes surrounding the brain. Meningitis comes in three forms; bacterial, viral and fungal.

Initial symptoms of the illness include:

  • Sudden fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck

Other symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Confusion

The symptoms may appear quickly or over the course of several days. The disease is serious and can be fatal or cause permanent damage to the brain in some cases. A meningitis diagnosis should needs to be early to begin treatment.

Because of the disease’s severity, it is important to vaccinate against meningitis.

Why Are College Students at Risk For Meningitis?

A recent CDC study showed college freshman are seven times more likely to contract meningitis than other college students.

Infectious diseases tend to spread where a large group of people are gathered together. A college dormitory the perfect environment for diseases like meningitis to spread.

“If you live in close quarters, the roommate is at a very high risk to get infected,” said Dr. Thomas Clark, a meningitis expert at CDC.

There have been many meningitis outbreaks at colleges across the country. The following colleges have reported outbreaks in recent years:

  • Princeton University
  • University of Oregon
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Santa Clara University
  • Providence College

How Can I Avoid Getting Meningitis In College?

The best protection against meningitis is vaccination.

Meningitis immunization is invaluable for any student, especially those living in a dormitory. Vaccines that help protect against all three strains of viral meningitis are available in the U.S.

If you’ve already received a meningitis vaccination, the CDC recommends receiving a booster shot before going to college.

Your local Passport Health Clinic offers the meningitis vaccine. Make an appointment by calling or booking online today.

Tips for Staying Healthy at College

Between classes, exams, homework, meetings, and trying to maintain a social life, it can be difficult to keep up with your personal health and wellness in college. Students can forget until an illness stops them from being able to function normally. Here are some simple tips on how to stay healthy admits all the college bustle:

  • Eat right – Remember to eat breakfast, keep healthy snacks around, and limit the caffeine intake. Your diet can be hard to remember when you’re away from home, but it’s an essential part of your health.
  • Exercise – Walking or biking to class is a great form of exercise. At almost all colleges, you get a gym membership to their facility included in your tuition. Take advantage of this as much as you can.
  • Get Enough Sleep – Just taking a short nap during the school day can do wonders to boost your energy. If you stick to a consistent sleep schedule throughout the week, you’ll get a better, deeper night’s sleep.
  • Stay Protected – Sexual health is important in a college environment. Always use protection, get tested, and take advantage of any vaccinations.
  • Manage Your Stress – It’s easy to become run-down with all the tasks you have to complete as a college student. Take a break from your work by engaging in a hobby, spend time with friends, or learn time management skills.

Have you ever experienced an illness in college that kept you from your studies? Comment below, on Facebook, or via Twitter.

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Meningitis (Meningococcal) Vaccine

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is a rare but serious infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord and is caused by meningococcal disease, a serious bacterial illness. Meningococcal disease is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children age 2 through 18 in the United States and may also result in blood infections. Symptoms of meningitis can include fever, stiff neck, eye sensitivity to light, purple-spotted rash, a drop in blood pressure, headache, nausea and vomiting.

Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but it is most common in infants younger than 12 months of age and people with certain medical conditions, such as a removed spleen. Meningococcal disease is contagious and is commonly spread by close contact, such as coughing, and can be shared by people living in the same household. College freshman who live in dormitories and teenagers ages 15 to 19 have an increased risk of getting meningococcal disease.

Meningitis is potentially fatal; even with antibiotic treatment, 10-15 percent of infected people can die. As many as 20 percent of people who survive the infection can be expected to lose a limb, become deaf or have serious long-term medical conditions.

What is the meningitis (meningococcal) vaccine?

The meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) can prevent infection against meningococcal disease. This vaccine protects about 90 percent of people who get it. This vaccine is not indicated for treatment of meningococcal infections.

Another CDC-recommended option is the serogroup B meningoccal (MenB) vaccine, which protects against an additional bacterial strain that may cause meningitis. Additional MenB vaccine information can be found on the CDCs website:

Adults older than 55 should get the meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4). Additional MPSV4 vaccine information can be found on the CDCs website:

Who should get the meningitis (meningococcal) vaccine?

  • All children ages 11-12, with a booster dose given at 16 years old (adolescents who receive the first dose between ages 13-15 should receive a booster dose between 16-18 years old)
  • College freshman living in dormitories
  • Anyone who has a damaged or removed spleen
  • U.S. military recruits
  • Microbiologists who are routinely exposed to meningococcal bacteria
  • Anyone traveling to or living in a part of the world where meningococcal disease is common, such as parts of Africa
  • Anyone who has been exposed to a meningitis outbreak

Who should not get the meningitis (meningococcal) vaccine, MenB or MPSV4?

  • Anyone who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of meningococcal vaccine or to any vaccine component
  • Anyone who is moderately or severely ill
  • Anyone who has ever had Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Pregnant women, unless clearly needed

What are the side effects of the meningitis (meningococcal) vaccine, MenB or MPSV4?

Mild-to-moderate problems:

  • Soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given
  • Fever, muscle aches and drowsiness

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help ease pain and reduce fever.

Severe problems (rare):

  • Guillain-Barre syndrome (For those who received MCV4
  • Serious allergic reactions, with symptoms including:
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Wheezing
    • Hives
    • Pale skin
    • Fast heartbeat
    • Dizziness

The meningitis (meningococcal) vaccine is available at Walgreens Pharmacy. Ages vary by state.*

Alert

If you believe you have a medical emergency, please call 911.

Call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at 800-232-4636 or visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines for more vaccine information.

Hamborsky J, Kroger A, Wolfe S, eds. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. 13th ed. Washington, DC: Public Health Foundation, 2015.

Vaccine Information Statements:

This publication should be used for general educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither Walgreen Co., its subsidiaries or affiliates, nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this publication.

*Vaccines subject to availability. State-, age- and health-related restrictions may apply.

What you need to know about meningitis vaccine

State law requires students entering seventh and 12th grades to have a meningococcal vaccination before the first school bell rings.

A new law signed by Gov. John Kasich last year requires students entering seventh and 12th grade to have a meningococcus vaccination before the start of this school year.

Under Ohio Revised Code, a student cannot remain in school if they have not received the vaccination within 14 days of the start of the school year.

Schools around the county began informing parents about the new vaccination law before the end of the last school year.

If you haven’t had your student vaccinated, here’s what you need to know.

What is meningitis?

According to the Center for Disease Control, meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes, called meninges, that cover the brain and spinal cord. Inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal disease is spread via contact with saliva, such as through kissing or coughing.

Why does a person need the meningococcal vaccination?

It protects most people from contracting meningococcal disease, which can be severe and sometimes life-threatening, Dr. Anju G. Mader, a pediatrician who serves as director of specialized student services and Stark County Help Me Grow for the Stark County Educational Service Center.

Mader said the disease is dangerous because its initial symptoms resemble those of a cold or flu, and it moves quickly through the body, causing lasting complications and increasing the risk of death.

Registered nurse Diana Wood, director of nursing at Massillon City Health Department, said the disease can cause shock, coma and death within hours of the appearance of the first symptoms.

Even with proper treatment, 10 percent to 15 percent of people with meningitis die. Of those who survive, as many as 20 percent suffer from serious complications such as brain damage, limb loss, and permanent hearing loss. The meningococcal vaccine is the best away to protect teens from getting the disease, Wood said.

Why administer at seventh and 12th grade? If I get it in seventh grade, will I need to get it again in 12th? How often do I need it?

Neisseria meningitides, the bacteria, does not make everyone sick, Mader said. But teens and young adults are at an increased risk for the disease, Wood said.

Mader explained carriers can be perfectly healthy and have no idea they are spreading the bacteria.

The disease is spread by respiratory droplets that are expelled a short distance by laughing, singing, coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread by direct contact through kissing and by sharing a water bottle, food item, cigarettes, lipstick, lip balm, mouth guard, or anything an infected person touches with his nose or mouth.

Also, being in close quarters, such as living in college dorms, can boost the risk of infection.

A second dose is needed as students become seniors, because it boosts protection during the ages when adolescents are at the highest risk of the disease, Wood said.

If the first dose of the vaccine is administered after a teen’s 16th birthday, a second dose is not required, she said.

Is it a shot? Where do I get the vaccination? What should you expect (pain, side effects)?

The shot is usually given in the arm. Side effects, including redness or soreness at the injection site, are usually mild and resolve in a few days. Rare side effects may be feeling faint immediately after the shot, or have shoulder pain in the arm the shot was injected, Mader said. The student/parent should consult with their healthcare provider to discuss side effects.

Where can I get the shot? What is the cost?

If the student has health insurance, the vaccine can be obtained from his or her primary-care provider.

If the student has no health insurance or is eligible for Medicaid, there are other options.

Massillon Health Department participates in the Vaccine for Children Program. The department receives vaccine for children 18 and younger who are underinsured, uninsured, Medicaid-eligible, American Indian or Alaska native, Wood said.

There is no cost for children that are Medicaid-eligible. All others pay a $20 administration fee. However, no child is turned away for the inability to pay the fee, Wood explained.

Several large chain pharmacies are able to administer the vaccine, she said.

To schedule an appointment for a vaccination at the Massillon Health Department, call 330-830-1713. Immunization clinics are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. A parent or legal guardian must accompany the child and bring an insurance card, if applicable, and the child’s immunization record. The nursing staff reviews the child’s immunization record and offers all the recommended vaccines.

What are the exemptions for opting out of the vaccination and what do I need to do to get an exemption?

The only acceptable exceptions are for students who have allergies to ingredients in the vaccine or those with a philosophical objection.

The school will need written proof the student can not be vaccinated.

Will my child be allowed to attend school on the first day if he/she does not have the vaccination?

Most local districts said students who do not have the vaccination will be allowed to attend school on the first day, but will have only a few weeks to get the vaccine.

Tuslaw Local Schools Superintendent Melissa Marconi said the district’s school nurse will collect data regarding required vaccinations, including the meningococcal vaccine, to determine which students have met the requirements. A letter will be sent to parents whose students do not have the vaccination reminding them of the requirement.

“Most of the time it is a matter of the parents’ forgetting to get the vaccination,” she said. “Sometimes it is because of the cost.”

Marconi said the district will work with parents to get the vaccination, adding the Tuslaw Community Group is available to help students.

Amy L. Knapp

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