Hello! I am 56. Is there any medical value in getting the...

Question: 

Hello! I am 56. Is there any medical value in getting the Men-B vaccination (money is no object,) which is recommended for those up to age 55? Thank you!

Answer: 

In B.C., the Meningococcal B (Men-B) Vaccine is provided free to those 2 months to 55 years of age who have been in close contact with a case of meningococcal B disease.

The vaccine is recommended, but not provided free, for those who are at risk of meningococcal B infection due to certain medical conditions including:

  • no spleen or a spleen that is not working properly; or
  • immune system disorders including complement, properdin, factor D deficiencies, or primary antibody deficiency.

The vaccine is also recommended, but not provided free for:

  • laboratory workers routinely exposed to meningococcal bacteria;
  • military personnel; and
  • those traveling to an area where the risk of meningococcal B disease is high.

The safety and effectiveness of the Men-B vaccine in adults over 55 years of age has not been established.  However, vaccination may be considered on an individual basis depending on the individual's situation.  

As per the Canadian Immunization Guide, it is recommended that for those 56 years of age and older, the Men B vaccine should be considered for those who are at high risk. Persons at higher risk of invasive meningococcal disease include:

  • persons with functional or anatomic asplenia
  • persons with congenital complement, properdin, factor D or primary antibody deficiencies
  • persons with acquired complement deficiency due to receipt of the terminal complement inhibitor eculizumab (Soliris™)
  • travellers to areas with high rates of endemic meningococcal disease or transmission, including travellers to the meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa and pilgrims to the Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • research, industrial and clinical laboratory personnel who may be at risk of exposure to N. meningitidis
  • military personnel who are at increased risk of meningococcal disease
  • HIV positive individuals should be considered for vaccination, especially if HIV is congenitally acquired

We recommend that you follow up with your health care provider who can make an individual recommendation for you regarding Men-B vaccination. 

- Immunization Nurse