Meningococcal Vaccine (MCV4, Menactra)

Meningococcal Vaccine (MCV4, Menactra) 2017-03-29T03:00:17+00:00

Meningococcal A Vaccine (MCV4, Menveo): This vaccine can prevent 4 types of meningococcal disease, including 2 of the 3 types most common in the United States and a type that causes epidemics in Africa. Meningococcal vaccines cannot prevent all types of the disease, but they do protect many people who might become sick if they didn’t get the vaccine. This vaccine works well, and protects about 90% of those who receive it.

Meningococcal disease is a serious illness, caused by a bacteria called meningococcus. It is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2-18 years old in the United States at this time. Meningitis is an infection of fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. Meningococcal disease also causes blood infections. Between 550 and 1,500 people get meningococcal disease each year in the U.S. 10-15% of these people die, in spite of treatment with antibiotics. Of those who live, another 11-19% lose their arms or legs, become deaf, have problems with their nervous systems, become mentally retarded, or suffer seizures or strokes. Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but it is most common in infants less than one year of age and people with certain medical conditions, such as lack of a spleen. College freshmen who live in dormitories and military recruits have an increased risk of getting meningococcal disease.

Menveo is recommended for all children at their routine per-adolescent visit (11-12 years of age) and at their 16 year old checkup as a booster dose. In addition, Menveo is also recommended for people at increased risk for meningococcal disease who have not had the vaccination:

  • College freshmen living in dormitories (for those who have not received the vaccine)
  • Microbiologists who are routinely exposed to meningococcal bacteria.
  • U.S. military recruits.
  • Anyone traveling to, or living in, a part of the world where meningococcal disease is common, such as parts of Africa.
  • Anyone who has a damaged spleen, or whose spleen has been removed.
  • Anyone who has terminal complement component deficiency (an immune system disorder).
  • People who might have been exposed to meningitis during an outbreak.

About half of people who get Menveo have mild side effects, such as redness or pain where the shot was given. If these problems occur, they usually last for 1 or 2 days. A small percentage of people who receive the vaccine develop a fever.

View the CDC Meningococcal vaccine sheet here:  vis-mening.pdf