Meningococcal
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Neisseria meningitidis
meningococcal bacteria

Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness. It is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2 through 18 years of age in the United States. It can also cause blood infections (sepsis). About 1,000 to 2,600 people get meningococcal disease each year in the U.S. Even when treated with antibiotics, up to 15% of these people will die and up to 19% will have permanent complications.

Meningococcal bacteria are primarily spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs. However, meningococcal bacteria are not highly contagious. In fact, only about 3% to 4% of household contacts become ill when a family member is infected.

Symptoms of meningococcal disease vary depending on the location of the infection. In cases of meningococcal meningitis, symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea/vomiting, eye sensitivity to light, and altered mental status. In cases of meningococcal sepsis, symptoms include abrupt onset of fever, rash, low blood pressure, shock-like symptoms, and possible organ failure. Meningococcal disease can also present as pneumonia, arthritis, ear infections, or epiglottitis. Treatment for all types of meningococcal disease is antibiotics.

About the Vaccine

There are three meningococcal vaccines and one combination meningococcal vaccine. All are inactivated vaccines. The first three can prevent meningococcal disease caused by four different types of meningococcal bacteria. Menveo is approved for persons 2 months through 55 years of age. Menactra is approved for persons 9 months through 55 years of age. Menomune is approved for persons 2 years of age and older, but in mainly used for persons 56 years and older. Menhibrix is approved for persons 6 weeks through 18 months of age who need to receive meningococcal and Hib vaccines.

Meningococcal Vaccines Licensed for Use in the U.S.

Product: Menactra® (Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine)
Manufacturer: Sanofi Pasteur
Year licensed: 2005
Product Insert

Product: Menomune® (Meningococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine)
Manufacturer: Sanofi Pasteur
Year licensed: 1978
Product Insert

Product: Menveo® (Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine)
Manufacturer: Novartis Vaccines
Year licensed: 2010
Product Insert

Product: Menhibrix® (Hib (tetanus toxoid conjugate) and Meningococcal groups C and Y)
Manufacturer: GlaxoSmithKline
Year licensed: 2012
Product Insert

Indications Contraindications and precautions
  • U.S. military basic trainees.
  • All children and adolescents 11 through 18 years of age.
  • College freshmen living in dormitories.
  • Laboratory workers who are routinely exposed to meningococcal bacteria.
  • Anyone traveling to, or living in, a part of the world where meningococcal disease is common, such as parts of Africa.
  • Anyone who has a non-functioning spleen or whose spleen has been removed.
  • Anyone who has terminal complement component deficiency (an immune system disorder).
  • People who might have been exposed to meningococcal disease during an outbreak.
  • People who have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of meningococcal vaccine or a meningococcal vaccine component.*
  • People who are moderately or severely ill should wait until recovery before receiving any vaccine. Minor illnesses, such as a cold, are not a contraindication.
  • Menactra is only approved for use in persons 9 months through 55 years of age.
  • Menveo is only approved for use in persons 2 months through 55 years of age.
  • Menhibrix is only approved for use in persons 6 weeks through 18 months of age.

* Multidose Menomune contains thimerosal. Menomune stopper contains latex.

Vaccine Ages Dose/Route Routine Administration Schedule
Menactra 9 months through 55 years of age Dose: 0.5 ml

Route: Intramuscular (IM)
Single dose for persons 2 through 55 years of age, routinely recommended at 11-12 years of age
2 doses, 3 months apart for persons 9 through 23 months of age
2 doses, 2 months apart for persons 2 through 54 years of age with persistent complement component deficiency, functional or anatomic asplenia, or HIV infection
See below for booster dose information
Menveo 2 months through 55 years of age Dose: 0.5 ml

Route: Intramuscular (IM)

Single dose for persons 2-55 years of age, routinely recommended at 11-12 years

4-dose series at 2, 4, 6, and 12 months of age for persons starting series at 2 months of age

2-dose series with second dose given in second year of life and at least 3 months after the first dose for persons 7-23 month of age

2 doses, 2 months apart for persons 2 through 54 years of age with persistent complement component deficiency, functional or anatomic asplenia, or HIV infection
See below for booster dose information

Menhibrix (Hib and meningococcal groups C and Y) 6 weeks through 18 months of age Dose: 0.5 ml

Route: Intramuscular (IM)
Four dose series at 2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months of age for persons with persistent complement component deficiency or functional or anatomic asplenia
Menomune 2 years of age and older    Dose: 0.5 ml

Route: Subcutaneous (SC)
Single dose with booster every 5 years if still at risk
Booster Dose Information
For Menomune
  • Persons who were vaccinated at age 7 years or older and are at prolonged increased risk should be revaccinated 5 years after their previous meningococcal vaccine.
  • Persons who were vaccinated at ages 2 through 6 years and are at prolonged increased risk should be revaccinated 3 years after their previous meningococcal vaccine.
For Menactra and Menveo
Risk Group Booster Dose Information
Persons 11 through 18 years of age
  • At age 16 if primary dose at age 11 or 12 years
  • At age 16 through 18 years if primary dose at age 13 through 15 years
  • No booster needed if primary dose on or after age 16 years
Persons aged 2 months through 55 years with persistent complement component deficiency or functional or anatomical asplenia
  • Persons aged 2 through 23 months: after 3 years and then every 5 years thereafter
  • Persons aged 2 through 55 years: every 5 years
Persons aged 2 months through 55 years with prolonged increased risk of exposure
  • Persons 9 through 23 months: after 3 years, followed by every 5 years if risk continues
  • Persons aged 2 through 55 years: every 5 years if risk continues      
Meningococcal Vaccine Side Effects
  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given (up to 60%).
  • Fever (up to 5%).
  • Headache, malaise, or fatigue (up to 60%).
  • Severe allergic reaction (very rare).       
Product Name Supplied Storage and Handling
Menactra
Sanofi Pasteur
Single dose vials (5 per package). Store refrigerated between 2° to 8°C (35° to 46°F). Do not freeze. Discard if vaccine has been frozen.

Menactra is a clear to slightly turbid liquid. Shake well before use.
Menomune
Sanofi Pasteur
Single dose vial with diluent (1 or 5 per package) and 10 dose multidose vial with diluent (1 per package). Store refrigerated between 2° to 8°C (35° to 46°F). Do not freeze. Discard if vaccine has been frozen. Single dose reconstituted vaccine needs to used within 30 minutes. Multidose reconstituted vaccine needs to be used within 35 days.

Menomune is a clear, colorless liquid after reconstitution. Shake well before use.
Menveo
Novartis Vaccines
Single dose vials containing MenA lyophilized component and single dose vials of MenCYW-135 liquid component (5 sets per package). Store both sets of vials refrigerated between 2° to 8°C (35° to 46°F). Do not freeze. Discard if vaccine has been frozen. Reconstituted vaccine should be used immediately, but may be stored at 25°C (77°F) or below for up to 8 hours.

Menveo is a clear, colorless liquid after reconstitution.
Menhibrix
A combination of Haemophilus b Conjugate and meningococcal groups C and Y (GlaxoSmithKine) vaccines
Vial, 1 dose of lyophilized vaccine (10 per package), packaged with 0.85 mL vials of saline diluent (10 per package) Store refrigerated between 2° and 8°C (36° and 46°F). Protect vaccine vials from light. Do not freeze. Discard if the vaccine has been frozen.

Administer immediately after reconstitution.      
Prevention and Control of Meningococcal Disease- MMWR
GENADMIN PDF 21 Jun 13
III MEF FORCE HEALTH PROTECTION (FHP) REQUIREMENTS 2014
27 Mar 06

Sample Q&A: The Vaccine

Can the vaccine cause meningococcal disease?
No. It does not contain live bacteria.
Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, 2013
Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
Recommendations of the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board (AFEB)
Recommendations of the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board (AFEB)
Package Insert - Vaccine
Package Insert - Vaccine
Package Insert - Vaccine
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
MMQC-13-1662 17 Jul 13
MENVEO Meningococcal / Novartis Pharmaceuticals / Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc.
MMQC-11-1111 09 Feb 11
MENINGOCOCCAL / VACCINES TO PREVENT MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE
The National Meningitis Association (NMA) has developed a 25-minute educational video, called Getting It: A Disease…A Vaccine, narrated by Glenn Close and featuring the stories of meningococcal disease survivors and families affected by the disease.
VIS
Vaccine Information Statement (Interim)