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Meningococcal Vaccine For Adults
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is the meningococcal vaccine?
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. The vaccine may protect you for 3 to 5 years.
When should I get the meningococcal vaccine?
Your healthcare provider will tell you how many doses you need and when to get each dose. You will need at least 1 dose if you have a low risk for meningococcal disease. You will need 2 or more doses if you have a high risk. You will also need a booster dose every 5 years if you have a high risk. Any of the following can increase your risk for meningococcal disease:
- A damaged or removed spleen
- Persistent complement component deficiency (PCCD)
- You take a medicine called eculizumab (Soliris®)
- 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. You may feel tired, or you may get a headache, mild fever, or chills. You may also have muscle or joint pain, or nausea or diarrhea. These symptoms may last up to 7 days. Rarely, you may have a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- Your mouth and throat are swollen.
- You are wheezing or have trouble breathing.
- You have chest pain or your heart is beating faster than normal for you.
- You feel like you are going to faint.
When should I seek immediate care?
- Your face is red or swollen.
- You have hives that spread over your body.
- You feel weak or dizzy.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- You have increased pain, redness, or swelling around the area where the shot was given.
- You have questions or concerns about the meningococcal vaccine.
Care AgreementYou 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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.