Meningococcal B Vaccine: Frequently Asked Questions
In June 2015, the U. S. Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices provided a category B recommendation for both Men B vaccines, making the vaccine appropriate for individual clinical decision-making:
A serogroup B meningococcal vaccine series may be administered to adolescents and young adults 16 through 23 years of age to provide short term protection against most strains of serogroup B meningococcal disease. The preferred age for Men B vaccination is 16 through 18 years of age.3,4
This is not a category A or âroutineâ recommendation, so many health care providers and patients have questions about the vaccine. Below is a list of frequently asked questions that may assist with decision-making:
Should low risk patients aged 16 to 23 be advised to get one of the new Men B vaccines? There is no clear answer to that question. Persons aged 16 to 23 are at an increased risk of contracting meningococcal infections. However, the incidence of Men B disease is low and seems to be getting lower. There is limited information about the clinical efficacy and safety of the vaccines. This is one of the reasons the ACIP gave this recommendation a B rather than an A rating.3,4
Will immunizing populations decrease carriage of the meningococcal B bacteria? So far, limited studies have not shown a decrease of asymptomatic carriage in immunized populations. More studies are planned.4
Where can I get more information? More information is available at the CDC/ACIP website.
How Are The Bacteria Spread
These bacteria are passed from person-to-person through saliva . You must be in close contact with an infected persons saliva in order for the bacteria to spread. Close contact includes activities such as kissing, sharing water bottles, sharing eating/drinking utensils or sharing cigarettes with someone who is infected or being within 3-6 feet of an infected person who is coughing or sneezing.
Where Does Meningitis Occur
Some regions are more likely to have meningitis due to environmental or other factors. These higher risk zones include:
- The Meningitis Belt This region of sub-Saharan Africa has more meningitis cases than most of the world. Three countries, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Niger, account for 65 percent of meningitis cases in Africa. In some communities in the belt, one percent of the population will contract meningitis during an outbreak. The countries in the belt are : Gambia, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea.
- Sub-Saharan Africa The rest of the region does have occasional outbreaks. Regions of note are Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Hajj PilgrimageSaudi Arabia has seen some outbreaks during the pilgrimage. Proof of vaccination is required for entry into the country during this time.
In Canada, dorms, schools or other areas with long-term close contact are sites of infection. Many educational centers now require proof of meningitis vaccination for enrolling.
Meningitis vaccinations are available at all Passport Health clinics. Call or make your appointment online now to schedule your appointment today.
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Meningococcal Disease In Australia
Meningococcal disease can occur sporadically or in epidemics. In Australia, most cases occur during winter and early spring. Other countries with temperate climates also have this seasonal trend.95
The meningococcal serogroups that cause meningococcal disease have been changing. A meningococcal C vaccine was introduced on the National Immunisation Program in 2003 and has resulted in a large reduction in meningococcal C disease incidence.95,96
Meningococcal B has historically caused most meningococcal disease in Australia.96 Meningococcal B continues to cause around half of all reported cases of meningococcal disease in Australia.98
Meningococcal B is most common in South Australia, where a state-funded MenB vaccination program was introduced from 2018. Refer to the South Australian Health Department website for further details.
Because of substantial declines in invasive meningococcal disease caused by serogroups B and C, overall IMD incidence in Australia declined between 2003 and 2013.96
Since 2013, the incidence of meningococcal W disease has rapidly increased.98,99 Incidence of meningococcal Y disease has also been steadily increasing since 2016.98 Several states and territories implemented vaccination programs with MenACWY vaccine in 2017 to manage this disease. In 2018, MenACWY vaccine was introduced on the National Immunisation Program for toddlers aged 12 months. Adolescents are able to receive MenACWY vaccine on the National Immunisation Program from 2019.
What Are Neisseria Meningitidis
Neisseria meningitidis are bacteria that may be found normally in peoples throats and noses. About 5 to 15% of people carry these bacteria and do not get sick from them. These people may be referred to as colonized. Colonized people only have bacteria for a short time. Usually, the bacteria go away and these people may have increased resistance to infection in the future. In rare cases, the bacteria may get into the blood and go to the tissue surrounding the spinal cord and brain, causing severe illness. It is not known why this occurs in certain people and not in others. A recent upper respiratory illness may be a contributing factor.
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Are Students Required To Get Meningococcal Vaccine Before College
Yes. Massachusetts law requires the following students receive quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine :
- Secondary School : newly enrolled full-time students who will be living in a dormitory or other congregate housing licensed or approved by the secondary school must provide documentation of having received a dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine at any time in the past.
- Postsecondary Institutions : newly enrolled full-time students 21 years of age and younger must provide documentation of having received a dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine on or after their 16th birthday, regardless of housing status.
Immunizations should be obtained prior to enrollment or registration however, students may be enrolled or registered provided that the required immunizations are obtained within 30 days of registration. There is no requirement for meningococcal B vaccination. However, adolescents and young adults may also be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, preferably at 16 through 18 years of age, to provide short term protection for most strains of serogroup B meningococcal disease.
More information about requirements and exemptions may be found in the MDPH document Information about Meningococcal Disease, Meningococcal Vaccines, Vaccination Requirements and the Waiver for Students at Colleges and Residential Schools.
Who Needs A Meningococcal Vaccine
The CDC recommends a meningococcal vaccine for:
- All children ages 11-18 or certain younger high-risk children
- Anyone who has been exposed to meningitis during an outbreak
- Anyone traveling to or living where meningitis is common, such as in sub-Saharan Africa
- Military recruits
- People with certain immune system disorders or a damaged or missing spleen
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Menveo Nimenrix And Menactra
The product information for Menveo, Nimenrix and Menactra states that vaccine should be administered as a single dose to people aged 2 years.
ATAGI recommends that these vaccines can be given in a 2- or 3-dose primary schedule to people aged 2 years who are at increased risk of invasive meningococcal disease according to Table. Recommendations for MenACWY vaccine for people with a specified medical condition that increases their risk of invasive meningococcal disease.
What Does A New Health Survey Say
While most of us recognise that meningitis B is dangerous, are we able to tell it apart from the flu before its too late?
The Alphega Pharmacy team spoke to 600 16-24 year-olds and their parents, to check their instincts and awareness when it came to MenB and the results were astounding.
The study by Your Local Health Hero found:
- Around 2 in 3 young people and 11 per cent of their parents cant identify Meningitis B from its symptoms
- Young people would take 5 hrs longer to seek urgent medical help than their parents for Men B symptoms
- 31 per cent of young people wouldnt seek urgent help for Men B symptoms within 24 hours
- Young people said theyd wait until they felt delirious, fell unconscious and were having seizures before theyd seek urgent medical help, drastically increasing their chance of death
- People who were shown a skin rash in their list of symptoms sought medical help sooner
- 38 per cent of young people and 19 per cent of parents didnt realise meningitis B could have life-changing side effects
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Are Students Vaccinated Against Meningitis
A rise in the number of students being struck down by deadly meningitis has prompted health experts to urge all students to get the Men ACWY jab.
The vaccine protects against group W meningococcal disease, which can cause meningitis and .
The warning comes as more young people are struck by the deadly disease.
Cases of the highly contagious strain of Men W bacteria increased from 22 in England in 2009/10 to 210 in 2015/16.
As a result the Men W jab was added to the national immunisation programme in August 2015.
Now, Public Health England are encouraging all older teenagers and uni students to get vaccinated to protect themselves.
This age group is thought to be at higher risk of infection because they mix closely with lots of new people.
The risk is greater because some of those people may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria in the backs of their noses and throats.
While more than two million eligible young people have received the MenACWY vaccine, some remain unprotected.
Who Should Receive A Meningitis Vaccine
Meningitis vaccination is recommended for individuals over 11-years-old. This includes both the A, C, W and Y immunization and the B vaccination.
Travellers or others who could be exposed to meningitis should also be vaccinated this includes:
- Travellers to the meningitis belt in Africa
- Travellers going to Hajj in Saudi Arabia
- Individuals who work in confined conditions
- Healthcare workers
- College or other students
If you have not been vaccinated, or are unsure of your vaccination history, Passport Health can help. We keep meningitis vaccinations in-stock and ready for your trip or need. Call to schedule your appointment or book online now.
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For Conscience Or Religious Belief
For your child to be exempted due to conscience or religious belief, you must contact your local public health unit:
- Let your local public health unit know you wish to have your child exempted from the required vaccines.
- The PHU will:
- advise you on the steps to take in completing a valid exemption, including watching the vaccine education video.
Once its complete, you must get it signed by a commissioner for taking affidavits in Ontario.
Make copies of your:
- signed Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief form
You will need to submit the original versions.
It is important that you keep your copies because the ministry and local public health units do not keep records of your exemption documents.
Submit the original copies of your Vaccine Education Certificate and signed Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief form to your local public health unit. Contact them to find out how.
Are Free Or Low
Yes, if you dont have insurance or your insurance does not cover the cost of the meningococcal vaccines, you may be able to find free or low-cost meningococcal shots.
- Talk to your doctor or clinic to see if they participate in the Minnesota Vaccines for Children Program. If the person in need of vaccination is 18 years old or younger, they may be eligible for no-cost vaccines. However, there may be an administration fee of up to $21.22 per shot.
- Talk to your city or county health department. They may be able to provide low-cost meningococcal shots.
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Complications Of Meningococcal Disease
Meningococcal infections can progress rapidly to serious disease or death in previously healthy people. The overall mortality risk for IMD is high , even if the person receives appropriate antibiotic therapy.
Around one-third of children and adolescents who survive IMD develop permanent sequelae. These can include:84
- limb deformity
- neurologic deficits
Around 3040% of people who survive IMD have long-term consequences or disabilities. Patients and caregivers can also have psychological symptoms due to these sequelae.92-94
Shouldnt Meningococcal B Vaccine Be Required
CDCs Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has reviewed the available data regarding serogroup B meningococcal disease and the vaccines. At the current time, there is no routine recommendation and no statewide requirement for meningococcal B vaccination before going to college . As noted previously, adolescents and young adults may be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, preferably at 16 through 18 years of age, to provide short term protection against most strains of serogroup B meningococcal disease. This would be a decision between a healthcare provider and a patient. These policies may change as new information becomes available.
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What Is Acceptable Evidence Of Vaccination
Documentation must be in English, state the name and other information sufficient to identify the individual who received the required vaccination, state the month, date and year the vaccine was administered.
Meningitis Vaccine Side Effects
Many people worry about dangers from the meningitis vaccine itself, but side effects are minimal, if present at all. Also, the vaccine cant cause the meningococcal disease itself.
If you have any reaction to the meningococcal shot, it will most likely be mild. Side effects of the meningitis vaccine may include:
- Mild pain and redness at the injection site
- Slight fever
In rare cases, the meningococcal vaccine may cause a severe allergic reaction. Signs of this reaction can include:
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What Happens If I Dont Provide The Necessary Documentation
- You will not be able to register for classes until the proper documentation is received.
- A registration hold will be placed on your myUH account, and a pending item will remain on your student checklist.
- For new students: This hold will prevent you from registering for classes at New Student Conferencesso students must fulfill this requirement before or upon arrival to their New Student Conference.
About The Meningitis Vaccine
The Meningococcal disease, or meningitis, is not as prevalent as it used to be, but people still contract it, and it is still a dangerous illness. Meningitis can cause serious infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord or in the blood.
Currently, there are two types of meningitis vaccinations available in the US. The first immunizes against the meningococcal A, C, W and Y strains. The second is a meningitis B vaccine for B strains of the disease.
The CDC recommends a meningitis vaccination with a meningococcal conjugate vaccine for children 1112 years old and a booster shot around 16 years old. Teens and young adults can also get vaccinated for meningitis with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine.
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Where Do I Send The Required Documentation
For faster processing, write your myUH ID number on the top right corner of each document submitted.
in your myUH self-service account.
*Note: Conscience Objector Affidavits from the Texas Department of State Health Services are NOT accepted through your myUH self-service account or by email or fax. These affidavits must be original documents submitted in person or by mail.
Simultaneous Administration With Other Vaccines
Men-C-C and 4CMenB vaccine may be administered concomitantly with routine childhood vaccines, and Men-C-ACYW vaccine may be administered concomitantly with adolescent and adult age appropriate vaccines. MenB-fHBP can be given concomitantly with quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine meningococcal serogroup A, C, Y, W conjugate vaccine and tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine adsorbed. The concomitant administration of MenB-fHBP has not been studied with other vaccines.
Men-C-ACYW-CRM can be administered with routine paediatric vaccines however, further studies are needed with regard to concomitant administration with pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine. Co-administration of Men-C-ACYW-CRM and combined tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine may result in a lower immune response to the pertussis antigens than when Tdap vaccine is given alone however, the clinical significance of this is unknown. Tdap vaccine given one month after Men-C-ACYW-CRM induces the strongest immunologic response to pertussis antigens.
If vaccines are to be administered concomitantly with another vaccine, a separate injection site and a different syringe must be used for each injection.
Refer to Timing of Vaccine Administration in Part 1 for additional general information.
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What Are The Acceptable Forms Of Evidence
- A containing the required information with the signature or stamp of a physician or his/her designee, or public health personnel*. The form must be completed fully, including the month, day, and year the vaccination dose or booster was administered.
- An official immunization record generated from a state or local health authority. Documentation must be in English and submitted with the .
- An official record received from school officials, including a record from another state
All documentation must include the month, date, and year that the vaccine or booster dose was administered.
*Please read the compliance form instructions carefully. All students must choose either option 1 or 2 and fully complete the document. The must have the health professional’s signature and credentials and be submitted with attachments to UH.