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Meningococcal Vaccine For Adults, Ambulatory Care

The meningococcal vaccine

is an injection given to protect you from certain types of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is an infection caused by meningococci bacteria. The infection may cause serious disease, such as meningitis. Meningitis causes swelling of the fluid and lining that covers your brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal disease is spread from person to person through the air. The vaccine begins to protect you 1 to 2 weeks after you get it and may protect you for 3 to 5 years.

Who should get the meningococcal vaccine:

You may need one or more vaccine doses if you have a higher risk for meningococcal disease. You may need a booster dose every 5 years. Any of the following can increase your risk for meningococcal disease:

  • A damaged or removed spleen
  • Persistent complement component deficiency (PCCD)
  • HIV infection
  • Working as a microbiologist who is exposed to meningococcus germs
  • Military service
  • Living in or traveling to areas where meningococcal infection is common
  • Exposure to the infection during an outbreak of the disease
  • Living in student housing if you did not receive the vaccine on or after your 16th birthday

Who should not get the meningococcal vaccine or should wait to get it:

  • You should not get the vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction to the vaccine or any component of the vaccine, such as thimerosal (mercury).
  • You should wait to get the vaccine if you are sick or have a fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher.

What are the risks of the meningococcal vaccine:

The most common problems are redness, warmth, swelling, or pain where the shot was given. This may last for 1 to 2 days. You may not feel well, or you may get a headache or mild fever. You may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • A swollen mouth or throat
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Chest pain or a fast heartbeat
  • Feeling faint

Seek immediate care for the following:

  • A red or swollen face
  • Hives that spread over your body
  • Feeling weak or dizzy

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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