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Vaccines and Immunizations


What is meningitis?

Meningitis is a disease caused by the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and the spinal cord. While most people with bacterial meningitis recover, it can cause serious complications, such as brain damage, hearing loss or learning disabilities.1

A vaccination is the most effective way to protect yourself against certain types of meningitis.

What about the vaccine?

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4)

  • Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4)

Both vaccines can prevent four types of meningococcal disease.

Learn more about protection.

Who should NOT get vaccinated or should wait?

  • Anyone who has ever had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of MCV4 or MPSV4 vaccine or diphtheria vaccine

  • Anyone who has a severe allergy to any vaccine component

  • Anyone who is moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should wait until they recover before receiving the vaccine

  • For more information on additional warnings and precautions visit

How long does the meningitis vaccine last?

Available data suggests that protection from meningococcal conjugate decreases in many teens within five years. Getting a booster, as determined by your health care provider, may be critical in maintaining protection when most at risk for meningococcal disease.

Some adolescents and young adults (16 through 23 years old) may also receive a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine. The preferred age for receipt is 16 through 18 years so adolescents have protection during the ages of increased risk.2

Meningitis vaccine side effects

The most common side effects are mild and include redness or pain at the site of the vaccination, both of which usually resolve within one or two days. A small percentage may develop a mild fever. Serious reactions are rare.

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