Meningitis Vaccine

Commercial vaccines are widely available against four common types of meningitis (quadrivalent vaccine against types A, C, W-135 and Y). A vaccine against type B has been developed in Cuba. Two kinds of meningococcal vaccine include: 1) Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV) and 2) Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV).

Conjugate vaccines are preferable, because, unlike the polysaccharide vaccines, conjugate vaccines immunize infants, reduce the carriage of meningococci in the throat and thus its transmission, as well as confer a more sustained immune response, and, therefore, longer-term protection than the polysaccharide vaccines. Serogroup B vaccines are based upon meningococcal B protein antigens, because group B polysaccharide is poorly immunogenic in humans and is a potential auto-antigen.

Nimenrix (Meningococcal groups A, C, Y, W-135 polysaccharide tetanus toxoid conjugate vaccine) is the brand name for GSK's new tetravalent conjugate vaccine sold in the EU to protect children, adolescents, and adults against four serogroups of N. meningitidis (A, C, Y, W-135) that cause invasive meningococcal infections. Approved in the EU 2012, Nimenrix is the first tetravalent conjugate vaccine available in Europe for patients between 12 and 23 months of age.

Vaccination against meningococcal disease is required by only one country, Saudi Arabia, for pilgrims visiting Mecca and Medina annually (Hajj) or at any time (Umrah). Travellers visiting African countries located in the so-called sub-Saharan meningitis belt during the dry season (December to June) may wish to consider vaccination to protect them during expected meningitis outbreaks.

What are the side effects?

As many as half the people who get the meningococcal vaccine experience side effects, such as redness or pain at the site of the injection.  A small percentage of people develop a low-grade fever.  Serious allergic reactions very rarely occur.

What is the dosage schedule?

For comprehensive discussion of the available vaccines and their dosage schedules, refer to the following website: