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Menactra

Generic name: meningococcal conjugate vaccine (me NIN je KOK al KON je gate vax EEN)
Brand name: Menactra
Drug class: Bacterial vaccines

Medically reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD. Last updated on Jun 14, 2021.

What is Menactra?

Menactra (meningococcal conjugate vaccine) is used to prevent infection caused by serogroups A, C, W, and Y. This vaccine helps your body develop immunity to meningitis. Meningococcal vaccine will not treat an active meningococcal infection that has already developed in the body.

Menactra is for use in children and adults between the ages of 9 months and 55 years old.

Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can infect the spinal cord and brain and cause meningitis, which can be fatal or lead to permanent and disabling medical problems.

Meningococcal disease can spread from one person to another through small droplets of saliva that are expelled into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The bacteria can also be passed through contact with objects the infected person has touched, such as a door handle or other surface. The bacteria can also be passed through kissing, or sharing a drinking glass or eating utensil with an infected person.

Menactra is for use in children and adults between the ages of 9 months and 55 years old.

Meningococcal disease is more likely to occur in babies younger than 1 year, in young people ages 16 to 23 years, in anyone with a weak immune system, those without a functioning spleen, and in anyone exposed to an outbreak of the disease.

Menactra works by exposing you to a small dose of the bacteria or a protein from the bacteria, which causes your body to develop immunity to the disease. Menactra contains four of the most common types of meningococcal bacteria (serogroups A, C, Y, and W-135).

Like any vaccine, Menactra may not provide protection from disease in every person.

Warnings

You should not receive Menactra if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a meningococcal or diphtheria vaccine.

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Before taking this medicine

You may not be able to receive Menactra if you've ever had an allergic reaction to a meningococcal, diphtheria, or tetanus vaccine.

Menactra may need to be postponed or not given at all if you have:

  • a severe illness with a fever or any type of infection;

  • a weak immune system caused by disease or by using certain medicine (Menactra may not be as effective if you are immunosuppressed);

  • a history of Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome; or

  • a history of premature birth.

You can still receive a vaccine if you've a minor cold.

Your doctor should determine whether you need Menactra during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

How is Menactra given?

Menactra is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle.

Menactra is recommended if:

  • you've been exposed to an outbreak of meningococcal disease;

  • you are in the military;

  • you work in a laboratory and are exposed to meningococcal bacteria;

  • you live in a dormitory or other group housing;

  • you live in or travel to an area where meningococcal disease is common;

  • you have a medical problem affecting your spleen, or your spleen has been removed;

  • you have HIV;

  • you use a medicine called eculizumab (Soliris) or ravulizumab (Ultomiris); or

  • you have an immune system disorder called "complement component deficiency."

Menactra is usually given only once to adults and children 2 years and older. You may need a booster dose if you have a high risk of meningococcal infection and it has been at least 4 years since you last received this vaccine. Younger children will need to receive 2 doses.

Your booster schedule may be different. Follow the guidelines provided by your doctor or local health department.

Be sure to receive all recommended doses of Menactra or you may not be fully protected against disease.

There are other types of meningococcal vaccine available. When you receive a booster dose, make sure you are receiving a vaccine for meningococcal serogroups A, C, W, or Y and not for serogroup B.

Dosing information

Menactra is given as a 0.5ml dose by intramuscular injection. Do not administer Menactra intravenously or subcutaneously.

Primary Vaccination:

  • In children 9 through 23 months of age, Menactra is given as a 2-dose series three months apart.

  • In people from 2 years old, up to and including 55 years of age, Menactra is given as a single dose.

Booster Vaccination:

  • A single booster dose may be given to people from 15 years old, up to and including 55 years of age who are at a continued risk of meningococcal disease, if at least 4 years have elapsed since since receiving a dose of a meningococcal conjugate vaccine.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your vaccination provider if you miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of Menactra is not likely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving Menactra?

Follow your vaccination provider's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Menactra side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Menactra: hives; dizziness, weakness; fast heartbeats; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Keep track of all side effects you have. If you need a booster dose, you will need to tell the vaccination provider if the previous shot caused any side effects.

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Becoming infected with meningococcal disease and developing meningitis is much more dangerous to your health than receiving Menactra. Any vaccine may cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is low.

You may feel faint after receiving Menactra. Some people have had seizure like reactions after receiving this vaccine. Your doctor may want you to remain under observation during the first 15 minutes after the injection.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe weakness or unusual feeling in your arms and legs (may occur 2 to 4 weeks after you receive the vaccine);

  • high fever; or

  • unusual behavior.

Common Menactra side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;

  • changes in appetite;

  • redness, pain, swelling, or a hard lump where the shot was given;

  • joint or muscle pain;

  • headache, drowsiness, tiredness

  • low fever, not feeling well; or

  • (in babies) fussiness, irritability.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1 800 822 7967.

What other drugs will affect Menactra?

Tell your doctor about all other vaccines you recently received, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with meningococcal conjugate vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

  • Your vaccination provider, pharmacist, or doctor can provide more information about Menactra. Additional information is available from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Menactra only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.