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Meningococcal Vaccination

Vaccination schedule

The vaccination comprises a single injection administered from the age of 18 months onwards. The vaccine confers protection after 7 to 14 days. It gives 3 years post-vaccine immunity. In children it only gives 2 years immunity. Do not vaccinate children under 18 months except during periods of epidemic.

Recommendations

Presently there are two preparations on the market - the bivalent and the quadrivalent. The bivalent vaccine is intended for the prevention of cerebrospinal meningitis caused by meningococci serogroups A and C. The quadrivalent vaccine can afford additional protection against meningococci serogroups W135 and Y.

Vaccination is recommended for:

  • Travellers to Mecca in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj pilgrimage (quadrivalent A, C, Y, W-135 vaccine). In year 2002, the Saudi Arabia government requires all pilgrims on entry to produce a certificate of vaccination against the meningococcal disease using the quadrivalent vaccine (serogroups A, C, W135 and Y). The certificate should be not more than 3 years and not less than 10 days before arrival.
  • Travellers to sub-Saharan regions of mid Africa during the dry season, i.e. Dec to Jun (bivalent A & C vaccine or quadrivalent A, C, Y, W-135 vaccine) according to the risk of exposure and local ad hoc epidemic situations.
  • Travellers to areas, apart from the above, that are known to experience epidemic Meningococcal meningitis as announced by authorities, e.g. World Health Organization; United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Health Canada.

In addition, sporadic cases of meningococcal disease are known to occur in some countries in schools, colleges, travel resorts, military barracks and other places where large numbers of adolescents and young adults congregate. Travellers should seek professional advice from doctors for vaccination in view of the individual's age and health condition, and details of the journey such as place, duration and nature.

Adverse reactions

They are usually mild or infrequent, consisting of localised redness lasting 1 to 2 days. Up to 2% of children may have fever transiently after vaccination.

Contraindications

The vaccine should not be administered to patients with acute infectious diseases. It is also not recommended for individuals suffering from ongoing progressive diseases. It should not be administered to people who have severe reactions to the vaccine or its components.

 


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Last revision date: 10 October 2012