meningococcal conjugate vaccine

Pronunciation: me NIN je KOK al KON je gate vax EEN

Brand: Menactra, MenQuadfi, Menveo

What is the most important information I should know about this vaccine?

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

What is meningococcal conjugate vaccine?

Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can infect the spinal cord and brain and cause meningitis, which can be fatal or lead to permanent and disabling medical problems.

Meningococcal disease spreads from person to person through small droplets of saliva expelled into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The bacteria is usually passed through close contact with an infected person, especially through kissing or sharing a drinking glass or eating utensil.

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine is used to prevent infection caused by serogroups A, C, W, and Y. This vaccine helps your body develop immunity to meningitis, but will not treat an active infection you already have.

The Menactra brand of this vaccine is for use in children and adults between the ages of 9 months and 55 years old. Menveo is for children and adults between the ages of 2 months and 55 years old. MenQuadfi is for adults and children at least 2 years old.

Like any vaccine, meningococcal conjugate vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving this vaccine?

You may not be able to receive this vaccine if you've ever had an allergic reaction to a meningococcal, diphtheria, or tetanus vaccine.

This vaccine may need to be postponed or not given at all if you have:

  • a severe illness with a fever or any type of infection;
  • a weak immune system caused by disease or by using certain medicine (this vaccine may not be as effective if you are immunosuppressed);
  • a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome; or
  • a history of premature birth.

You can still receive a vaccine if you've a minor cold.

Your doctor should determine whether you need this vaccine during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

How is this vaccine given?

This vaccine is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle.

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine is recommended if:

  • you've been exposed to an outbreak of meningococcal disease;
  • you are in the military;
  • you work in a laboratory and are exposed to meningococcal bacteria;
  • you live in a dormitory or other group housing;
  • you live in or travel to an area where meningococcal disease is common;
  • you have a medical problem affecting your spleen, or your spleen has been removed;
  • you have HIV;
  • you use a medicine called eculizumab (Soliris) or ravulizumab (Ultomiris); or
  • you have an immune system disorder called "complement component deficiency."

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine is usually given only once to adults and children 2 years and older. You may need a booster dose if you have a high risk of meningococcal infection and it has been at least 4 years since you last received this vaccine. Younger children will need to receive 2 to 4 doses.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that all teens ages 11 to 12 years be vaccinated with a single dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine. A booster dose should be given at age 16 for continued protection when teens are at highest risk of meningococcal disease.

Your booster schedule may be different. Follow the guidelines provided by your doctor or local health department.

Be sure to receive all recommended doses of this vaccine or you may not be fully protected against disease.

There are other types of meningococcal vaccine available. When you receive a booster dose, make sure you are receiving a vaccine for meningococcal serogroups A, C, W, or Y and not for serogroup B.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your vaccination provider if you miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this vaccine is not likely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving this vaccine?

Follow your vaccination provider's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

What are the possible side effects of this vaccine?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; dizziness, weakness; fast heartbeats; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Keep track of all side effects you have. If you need a booster dose, you will need to tell the vaccination provider if the previous shot caused any side effects.

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Becoming infected with meningococcal disease and developing meningitis is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. Any vaccine may cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is low.

You may feel faint after receiving this vaccine. Some people have had seizure like reactions after receiving this vaccine. Your doctor may want you to remain under observation during the first 15 minutes after the injection.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe weakness or unusual feeling in your arms and legs (may occur 2 to 4 weeks after you receive the vaccine);
  • high fever; or
  • unusual behavior.

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • changes in appetite;
  • redness, pain, swelling, or a hard lump where the shot was given;
  • joint or muscle pain;
  • headache, drowsiness, tiredness
  • low fever, not feeling well; or
  • (in babies) fussiness, irritability.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1 800 822 7967.

What other drugs will affect this vaccine?

Tell your doctor about all other vaccines you recently received, especially:

  • a diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine (such as Daptacel); or
  • a pneumonia vaccine (such as Prevnar).

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect meningococcal conjugate vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Where can I get more information?

Your vaccination provider, pharmacist, or doctor can provide more information about this vaccine. Additional information is available from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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