Meningococcal conjugate vaccines: (MenACWY and MPSV4)Vaccines to Prevent Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal disease is a serious illness caused by a bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. It can lead to infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord called meningitis and infections of the blood.

Updated: December 8, 2017

Meningococcal disease is a serious illness caused by a bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis.  It can lead to infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord called meningitis and infections of the blood.
There are at least 12 types of N. meningitidis, called serogroups. Most meningococcal disease are caused by serogroups A, B, C, W, and Y . It can spread from person to person through close contact such as coughing or kissing or lengthy contact, especially among people living in the same household.

Certain people who are at increased risk of getting meningococcal disease includes:

  • Infants younger than one year old
  • Adolescents and young adults 16 through 23 years old
  • People with certain medical conditions that affect the immune system
  • Microbiologists who routinely work with isolates of N. meningitidis
  • People at risk because of an outbreak in their community
Even after the treatment, meningococcal disease can lead to  hearing loss, brain damage, kidney damage, amputations, nervous system problems, or severe scars from skin grafts. It can even cause death. Meningococcal ACWY vaccines can help prevent meningococcal disease caused by serogroups A, C, W, and Y.

Meningococcal ACWY Vaccines:

There are two kinds of meningococcal vaccines licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for protection against serogroups A, C, W, and Y. These are:
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY)
  • Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4)
For adolescents of age 11 through 18 years, two doses of MenACWY are routinely recommended. The first dose should be given at the age of 11 or 12 years, with a booster dose at age the age of 16. Additional doses are required for some adolescents, including those with HIV . Speak to your health care provider for more information. 

Certain groups of people who are at risk of meningococcal disease include:

  • If there is a serogroup A, C, W, or Y meningococcal disease outbreak
  • Anyone with a rare immune system condition called persistent complement component deficiency
  • Anyone taking a drug called eculizumab, also called Soliris
  • Anyone whose spleen is damaged or has been removed
  • Microbiologists who routinely work with isolates of N. meningitidis
  • Anyone traveling to, or living in, a part of the world where meningococcal disease is common, such as parts of Africa
  • College freshmen living in dormitories
  • U.S. military recruits
If you have any of the above condition, MenACWY vaccine is recommended. Children of the age between 2 and 23 months old, and people with certain medical conditions require multiple doses for adequate protection. You can get more information from your health care provider about the number and timing of doses, and the requirement for booster doses.
MenACWY is the preferred vaccine for people who are in the age group of 2 months through 55 years old, have received MenACWY previously, or anticipate requiring multiple doses.
MPSV4 is recommended for adults older than 55 who anticipate requiring only a single dose such as travelers or during community outbreaks.

You should not get this vaccine if:

  • you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a previous dose of meningococcal ACWY vaccine, or if you have a severe allergy to any component of this vaccine. Your provider can tell you about the component of the vaccine.
  • you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • you are moderately or severely ill. You should probably wait until you recover.

Risks from MenACWY and MPSV4 Vaccine:

There are chances of side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. Serious reactions are also possible but are rare. Some of the mild Problems following MenACWY vaccine include:
  • Fever
  • Redness or soreness where the shot was given
If these problems occur, they usually last for 1 or 2 days. These are more common after MenACWY than after MPSV4.

Hib-MenCY-TT Vaccine:

This is bivalent and protects against serogroups C and Y. (Meningococcal conjugate vaccine and Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine)

Problems that could happen after any vaccine:

  • Sometimes people faint after vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting. If you feel dizzy, have vision changes or ringing in the ears, speak to your doctor.
  • In some cases severe pain in the shoulder and difficulty moving the arm where a shot was given could happen.
  • A severe allergic reaction would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
  • There is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death. The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. You can get all the information from Vaccine Safety site.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. If you have severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or behavior changes , call 9-1-1 or find the nearest hospital.
The reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) through the VAERS website or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions. They do not give medical advice.
If you are injured by a vaccine, you can file a claim in  National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website to get the compensation.

Learn more about Vaccine:

Your doctor can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
You can call your local or state health department or can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by:
        Calling 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)
        Visiting  CDC vaccines website


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