The meningococcal vaccine protects against four types of meningococcal bacteria -- germs that cause meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease can affect the lining around the brain or spinal cord (meningitis). Or, it can cause a blood infection (meningococcal bacteremia), pneumonia, or other problems. One in 10 infected people die from meningococcal disease. Those who survive may have lasting disabilities such as hearing loss or brain damage. That's why the meningococcal vaccine is so important for those who are at risk.
You can catch meningococcal infection through close, direct contact with someone who has the bacteria in his or her throat or nose. Early symptoms of meningitis or blood infection may be confused with the flu or a cold, but symptoms can rapidly become more severe and include:
Did You Know?
Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive care services, including checkups, vaccinations and screening tests, at no cost to you. Learn more.