Meningococcal Vaccine: What You Need to Know
MCV4 is the preferred vaccine for people 2 through 55 years of age in these
MPSV4 can be used if MCV4 is not available and for adults over 55.
How Many Doses?
People 2 years of age and older should get 1 dose. Sometimes an additional
dose is recommended for people who remain at high risk. Ask your
MPSV4 may be recommended for children 3 months to 2 years of age under
special circumstances. These children should get 2 doses, 3 months apart.
4. Some people should not get meningococcal vaccine or should
Anyone who has ever had a severe (life-threatening) allergic reaction to a
previous dose of either meningococcal vaccine should not get another dose.
Anyone who has a severe (life threatening) allergy to any vaccine component
should not get the vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe
Anyone who is moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled
should probably wait until they recover. Ask your provider. People
with a mild illness can usually get the vaccine.
Anyone who has ever had Guillain-Barre Syndrome should talk with their
provider before getting MCV4.
Meningococcal vaccines may be given to pregnant women. However, MCV4
is a new vaccine and has not been studied in pregnant women as much as MPSV4
has. It should be used only if clearly needed.
Meningococcal vaccines may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
5. What are the risks from meningococcal vaccine?
A vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as
severe allergic reactions. The risk of meningococcal vaccine causing serious
harm, or death, is extremely small.
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.
Serious allergic reactions, within a few minutes to a few hours of the shot,
are very rare.
A serious nervous system disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (or G.B.S.)
has been reported among some people who received M.C.V. 4. This happens
so rarely that it is currently not possible to tell if the vaccine might be a
factor. Even if it is, the risk is very small.
6. What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?
What should I look for?
Any unusual condition, such as a high fever, weakness, or behavior changes.
Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing,
hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or