Meningococcal Vaccine

What is the Meningococcal Vaccine?

Meningococcal disease refers to any disease caused by meningococcus bacteria.  This bacteria is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2 through 18 years old in the United States.  It can also cause blood infections.  The two peak populations for meningococcal disease are children younger than 2, and young adults aged 15 to 24 years.  Currently, there are two types of meningococcal vaccinations administered in the U.S. to prevent the spread of Meningococcal disease.  They are meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) and the meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4).

Who should receive a meningococcal vaccination?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended routine vaccination of adolescents from 11 to 12 years of age with MCV4.  The CDC also recommends a booster before high school entry (at approximately age 15-16 years) as an effective strategy to reduce meningococcal disease incidence among adolescents and young adults.

MCV4 is the preferred vaccine for people who are 9 months through 55 years of age.  MPSV4 is recommended for adults older than 55.

How is the meningococcal vaccination administered?

For children and adults (2 to 55 years of age) MCV4 is administered as a single 0.5 ml dose intramuscularly and should be given at a 90-degree angle.  MPSV4 (older than 55 years of age) is administered 0.5 ml subcutaneously and should be given at a 45-degree angle.