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Meningococcal Vaccines

The Meningococcal vaccines protect against meningococcal disease. It is a serious infection that may lead to bacterial meningitis and other infections.

There are two kinds of meningococcal vaccines that are currently given to kids:

  1. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against four types of meningococcal bacteria (called types A, C, W, and Y). It is recommended for all kids.
  2. Meningococcal B vaccine (MenB)

Immunization Schedule

IAP recommendations on dosage in different categories: IAP now recommends the use of MCVs in different categories as per following description:

  1. During disease outbreaks: Polysaccharide vaccines can be used to control outbreaks in countries where limited economic resources or insufficient supply restrict the use of MCVs [28]. However, due to the limited efficacy of polysaccharide vaccines in children <2 years of age, conjugate vaccines should be used for protection of those aged 12–24 months, particularly for Men A disease. Since majority of documented outbreaks in India are caused by Men A, monovalent MCV, like PsA-TT should be employed in mass vaccination.

  1. Vaccination of persons with high-risk conditions/situations

(i) Children with terminal complement component deficiencies: A two-dose primary series of MCV administered 8–12 weeks apart is recommended for persons aged 24 months through 55 years with persistent deficiencies of the late complement component pathway. A booster dose should be administered every 5 years. Children who receive the primary series before their seventh birthday should receive the first booster dose in 3 years and subsequent doses every 5 years.

(ii) Children with functional/ anatomic asplenia/ hyposplenia (including sickle cell disease): Administer 2 primary doses of either MCV with at least 8 weeks between doses for individuals aged 24 months through 55 years. Vaccination should ideally be started two weeks prior to splenectomy.

(iii) Persons with Human Immunodeficiency Virus: Administer two doses at at least 8 weeks interval.

(iv) Laboratory personnel and healthcare workers: who are exposed routinely to Neisseria meningitides in solutions that may be aerosolized should be considered for vaccination. A single dose of MCV is recommended. A booster dose should be administered every 5 years if exposure is ongoing.

(v) Adjunct to chemoprophylaxis: in close contacts of patients with MD (health care workers in contact with secretions, household contacts, day care contacts) single dose of appropriate group MCV is recommended.

Why the Vaccines Are Recommended

Meningococcal disease is caused by a type of bacteria. It can lead to an infection of the bloodstream or meningitis and can be life-threatening if not quickly treated.

The meningococcal conjugate vaccine is very effective at protecting against four strains of the bacteria.

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

Your child may have fever, soreness and some swelling or redness in the area where the shot is  given. A warm, damp cloth or a heating pad on the injection site may help reduce soreness, as can moving or using the arm.

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