Meningococcal Disease

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Did you know?

 Up to 15 in 100 people with meningococcal infection will die, even if they receive treatment. 

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What are meningococcal vaccines? 

There are three types of meningococcal vaccines:

  • The meningococcal C (Men-C) vaccine that protects against infection from one of the most common types of meningococcal bacteria, type C.
  • The meningococcal quadrivalent vaccine that protects against 4 types of meningococcal bacteria: types A, C, Y and W-135.
  • The meningococcal B (Men-B) vaccine that protects against infection by one of the most common types of meningococcal bacteria, type B.

The type of vaccine recommended depends on a person's age and risk factors. 

Who should get the meningococcal vaccine? 

Meningococcal C (Men-C) Vaccine

  • The Men-C is provided free to infants as part of their routine immunizations. The vaccine is given as a series of two doses. The first is given at 2 months of age, and the second at 12 months.
  • The vaccine is also free for people:
    • Born before 2002, who are 24 years of age and under who did not get a dose of vaccine on or after their 10th birthday.
    • Who have been in close contact with someone with meningococcal type C disease.

Click here for more information about the Men-C vaccine.

 

Meningococcal Quadrivalent Vaccine

  • The meningococcal quadrivalent vaccine is provided free to children in Grade 9.
  • The vaccine is also provided free to children and adults at high risk of meningococcal disease (such as those with certain medical conditions and those who have been in close contact with a person with meningococcal disease).
  • The vaccine is recommended, but not provided free, for those with occupational risks and those living or travelling in a high-risk area for meningococcal disease.

Click here for a complete list of vaccine recommendations and eligibility criteria and for more information about the meningococcal quadrivalent vaccine. 

People who are not eligible for the free vaccine but want to be protected against meningococcal A, C, Y and W-135 strains of the disease can purchase the quadrivalent vaccine at most travel clinics and pharmacies.

 

Meningococcal B (Men-B) Vaccine

  • The Men-B vaccine is not part of the publicly funded routine schedule of immunizations in B.C. 
  • This 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 high risk of meningococcal B infection due to certain medical conditions, those with occupational risks, and those travelling to an area where the risk of meningococcal B disease is high.

Click here for a complete list of vaccine recommendations and eligibility criteria and for more information about the Men-B vaccine.

If you want to be protected against meningococcal B disease, you may purchase the vaccine at some travel clinics and pharmacies. The vaccine is given by injection as a series of 2, 3, or 4 doses. The number of doses depends on how old you are when the immunization series is started. Speak with your health care provider for more information.

What are the benefits of the vaccine?

Vaccines that protect against meningococcal infection are the best way to protect against this serious and sometimes fatal disease. When you or your child get vaccinated, you help protect others as well.

About meningococcal infection

  • Meningococcal infection is caused by a bacteria.
  • Meningococcal infection is spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing, or close face-to-face contact. It can also be spread through saliva. This can occur through activities such as kissing or sharing of food, drinks, cigarettes, lipsticks, water bottles, mouth guards used for sports, or mouthpieces of musical instruments.
  • Although rare, it can cause serious and life-threatening infections, including meningitis, an infection of the lining that covers the brain, and septicemia, an infection of the blood.
  • Permanent complications of infection include brain damage, deafness, and loss of limbs.
     

 

Date last updated: 
Tuesday, Apr 07, 2020
Date last reviewed: 
Monday, Apr 06, 2020