Meningococcal – A, C, Y, W-135 Vaccine
Updated September 2017
Menactra®, Menveo™, Nimenrix®
Routine childhood vaccination, given at one year of age, only protects against the C-strain of the bacteria. The meningococcal quadrivalent vaccine protects against four types of the bacteria: A, C, Y, and W-135 and is 80% to 85% effective for teenagers.
Vaccine effectiveness decreases over time. If it has been more than five years since your child’s vaccination, a booster is recommended.
People Who Should Get the Vaccine
Toronto Public Health provides free meningococcal vaccination to Grade 7 students. The vaccine can be given on the same day as other vaccines. Only one dose is required for teens. Students must show proof of vaccination or a valid exemption to attend school in Ontario.
This vaccine is also recommended for travel or occupational purposes. This vaccine is not publicly funded for adults or for travel purposes. Talk to your health care professional.
People Who Should Not Get the Vaccine
The vaccine is not recommended for individuals who has had a serious reaction to diphtheria or tetanus toxoid protein. As a precaution, if you have a fever, delay getting the vaccine until you are feeling better.
Vaccine Side Effects and Risks
The vaccine is safe, effective and well tolerated. Reactions are usually mild. Common side effects include pain and redness where the vaccine was given, headache, and feeling tired or unwell for a short time after receiving the vaccine.
In rare cases, serious allergic reactions such as trouble breathing, rash, swelling in the throat and face may occur. Allergic reactions can be treated and are temporary. Please stay at the clinic for 15 minutes following vaccination for staff to monitor for reactions.
Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. Meningococcal disease is very rare, however, when it strikes, the disease can progress rapidly with serious consequences. Meningococcal disease can be fatal in approximately 10% of cases. Up to 20% of people who recover will have long-term complications including deafness, brain damage, neurological deficits, seizures and limb ischemia leading to amputations.
Children under five, particularly those under one year of age are at highest risk of meningococcal infection, followed by adolescents between 15 and 19 years of age.
The disease spreads through saliva by close person to person contact, usually by kissing or sharing food, drink, musical instruments, water bottles, or other things that have been in the mouth of a person with the disease.
The bacteria can infect the lining of the brain and spinal cord called meningitis. Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis include high fever, stiff neck, severe headache, photophobia, vomiting and drowsiness. Meningitis can lead to strokes, hearing loss and seizures.
It can also cause a blood infection called meningococcemia, and can impact the lungs, joints, bone, heart or skin. Symptoms of meningococcemia include an abrupt onset of fever, chills, nausea, myalgia, headache, limb pain, diarrhea and fatigue, and a petechial rash. They can progress to hypotension, shock and multi-organ failure.
- Talk to your health care provider
- Call our Immunization Information Centre at 416-392-1250
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