Meningococcal Vaccine Recommendations and Safety

Meningococcal Vaccination Recommendations for Children

Administer a single dose of either of the MCV4 vaccines at age 11 through 12 years, with a booster dose at age 16 years.

Adolescents aged 11 through 18 years with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection should receive a 2-dose primary series of MCV4 with at least 8 weeks between doses. For children aged 2 months through 18 years with high-risk conditions, see the most up to date ACIP Child/Adolescent Immunization Schedule.

Administer 2 doses of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY [Menactra, Menveo]) at least 2 months apart to adults of all ages with functional asplenia or persistent complement component deficiencies. HIV infection is not an indication for routine vaccination with MenACWY. If an HIV-infected person of any age is vaccinated, 2 doses of MenACWY should be administered at least 2 months apart.

Meningococcal Vaccination Recommendations for Adults

Meningococcal Vaccination is recommended for adults with certain high-risk conditions:

Administer a single dose of meningococcal vaccine to microbiologists routinely exposed to isolates of Neisseria meningitidis, military recruits, persons at risk during an outbreak attributable to a vaccine serogroup, and persons who travel to or live in countries in which meningococcal disease is hyperendemic or epidemic.

First-year college students up through age 21 years who are living in residence halls should be vaccinated if they have not received a dose on or after their 16th birthday.

MenACWY is preferred for adults with any of the preceding indications who are aged 55 years or younger as well as for adults aged 56 years or older who a) were vaccinated previously with MenACWY and are recom- mended for revaccination, or b) for whom multiple doses are anticipated. Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4 [Menomune]) is preferred for adults aged 56 years or older who have not received MenACWY previ- ously and who require a single dose only (e.g., travelers).

Revaccination with MenACWY every 5 years is recommended for adults previously vaccinated with MenACWY or MPSV4 who remain at increased risk for infection (e.g., adults with anatomic or functional asplenia, per- sistent complement component deficiencies, or microbiologists).

Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccination Recommendations

A MenB vaccine series may be administered to adolescents and young adults aged 16–23 years to provide short-term protection against most strains of serogroup B meningococcal disease. The preferred age for MenB vaccination is 16–18 years (recommendation Category B).

For more information:
Use of Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccines in Adolescents and Young Adults: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. October 23, 2015. 64 (41);1171-6.

Certain persons aged ≥10 years who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease should receive MenB vaccine. These persons include:

  • Persons with persistent complement component deficiencies.
  • Persons with anatomic or functional asplenia.
  • Microbiologists routinely exposed to isolates of Neisseria meningitidis.
  • Persons identified as at increased risk because of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak.

For more information:
Use of Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccines in Persons Aged ≥10 Years at Increased Risk for Serogroup B Meningococcal Disease: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, 2015,MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly. June 12, 2015. 64(22);608-612.

Current ACIP Vaccine Recommendations: Meningococcal

Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Meningococcal

Several newly available commercial multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays are capable of simultaneously testing a single specimen for an array of pathogens that cause blood infections, meningitis, or encephalitis. While these assays can rapidly identify Hi and Nm species, most do not determine serotype or serogroup. Determining serotype for Hi and serogroup for Nm is crucial for identifying potential outbreaks and determining appropriate public health responses.

Learn more about use of PCR for diagnosing Hi and Nm in the newly released CDC Best Practices document and CDC Health Advisory.

Meningococcal Vaccine Safety

There are three vaccines available in the United States for meningococcal protection, preventing the same four strains of the disease. These vaccines are sometimes referred to as tetravalent vaccines. Menomune (Sanofi), which is also known as meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV or MPSV4), has been available since the 1970s and is the vaccine recommended for persons older than 55 years and pregnant women who need protection from the disease. This polysaccharide vaccine appears to offer protection from 3–5 years.

The newer vaccines Menactra (Sanofi) and Menveo (Novartis), also known as MCV4, contribute to a reduction in the bacterial carriage in the nose and throat and a longer duration of immunity. MCV4 is licensed for people aged 2–55 years: (Menactra for ages 2–55 years; Menveo for ages 11–55 years).

As many as half the people who get meningococcal vaccines have mild side effects, such as redness or pain where the shot was given.
If these problems occur, they usually last for 1 or 2 days. They are more common after MCV4 than after MPSV4.

A small percentage of people who receive the vaccine develop a fever.

Severe Problems

Serious allergic reactions, within a few minutes to a few hours of the shot, are very rare.


For more information regarding meningococcal vaccine safety, visit CDC's webpage Meningococcal Vaccine Safety



Updated 7/14/16


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