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Children's Vaccines Health Center

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Meningococcal Vaccine: What You Need to Know

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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.

Mild problems

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.

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 dizziness.

What should I do?

Call a doctor, or get the person to a doctor right away.

Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when the vaccination was given.     

Ask your doctor, nurse, or health department to report the reaction by filing a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) form.Or you can file this report through the VAERS web site at www.vaers.hhs.gov or by calling 1-800-822-7967.

 VAERS does not provide medical advice.

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