The Disease

Meningitis is an infection of the spinal cord and fluid surrounding the brain. Meningococcal disease also causes blood infections. Children and young adults, particularly college freshmen who live in dormitories, are most often affected by meningococcal disease, but persons of any age can become infected. There are 2 types of meningococcal disease: bacterial and viral. Severity of the disease and treatment depend on which type a person has.


The Immunization

There are 2 types of meningococcal vaccine. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) is routinely recommended for all 11 and 12 year olds, with a booster second dose at 16, and for children over 12 who have not received the vaccine previously. MCV4 is preferred for people aged 11-55, as well as certain high risk children from the ages of 2-10. The meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4) vaccine is recommended for certain older populations.


AAP Vaccine Recommendations


Quick Facts - What You Need to Know (PDF)

  • Why get vaccinated?
  • What is meningococcal disease?
  • Who should get meningococcal vaccine and when?
  • Some people should not get meningococcal vaccine or should wait
  • What are the risks from meningococcal vaccine?
  • What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?


Other Resources


Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)


Last Updated: 7/13/2012



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