There are 13 different strains of meningococcal bacteria, 5 of which there are currently vaccines for. These are serogroups A, B, C, W and Y.
Immunisation against the A, C, W and Y serogroups comes as a four-in-one vaccine, and is recommended for certain high-risk groups, such as those travelling to areas known for meningococcal disease outbreaks or those working in laboratories where the handling of meningococcal bacteria is a necessity.
The meningococcal A, C, W and Y vaccine is free for children at 12 months and up to 20 years of age. Until 31 Decemeber 2018, it is also free for gay and bisexual men who have sex with men.
The meningococcal serogroup B vaccine is not available under the National Immunisation Schedule, but is available on private prescription. It is recommended for children less than 2 years of age, adolescents between 15 and 19 years old and laboratory personnel who handle meningococcal bacteria.
To find out which meningococcal vaccine you should have, come in and speak with us.
Side effects of meningococcal vaccines
Meningococcal vaccines are effective and safe, though all vaccines can have mild side effects. These can include pain at site of injection, low-grade fever and, in children, irritability or drowsiness. Symptoms are usually not serious and do not require specific medication.
Pregnancy and meningococcal vaccines
Meningococcal vaccines are generally not recommended for pregnant women, but if you think you are at particular risk, come in and speak with us.
What is meningococcal disease?
Meningococcal disease is caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria and, while uncommon, can be very serious. Invasive meningococcal disease happens when the bacteria enters the bloodstream and causes septicaemia, or when it inflames the membrane covering the brain, known as meningitis. Up to 5-!0% of those afflicted die from the disease, while 10-20% of survivors carry life-long complications. It is spread via sneezing and coughing.
Common symptoms include fever, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, sore throat and irritability. Septicaemia can be indicated by a rash, which is sometimes accompanied by a high fever.
For more information please view the Better Health website.
For information on other vaccines, see also: