Meningococcal Vaccines for Preteens and Teens
Meningococcal vaccines help protect against the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease. These infections don’t happen very often, but can be very dangerous when they do. Meningococcal disease refers to any illness that is caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. The two most severe and common illnesses caused by these bacteria include infections of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia). Even if they get treatment, about 10 to 15 out of 100 people with meningococcal disease will die from it.
Meningococcal disease can spread from person to person. The bacteria that cause this infection can spread when people have close or lengthy contact with someone’s saliva, like through kissing or coughing, especially if they are living in the same place. Teens and young adults are at increased risk for meningococcal disease.
Meningococcal disease can become very serious, very quickly. The meningococcal vaccine is the best way to protect teens from getting meningococcal disease.
All 11 to 12 year olds should be vaccinated with a single dose of a quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Older teens need a second shot when they are 16 years old so they stay protected when their risk is the highest.
Teens who got meningococcal vaccine for the first time when they were 13, 14, or 15 years old should still get the booster shot when they are 16 years old. If your older teen didn’t get the meningococcal shot at all, you should talk to their doctor about getting it as soon as possible.
Teens and young adults (16 through 23 year olds) may also be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (2 or 3 doses depending on brand), preferably at 16 through 18 years old. Talk with your teen’s doctor or nurse about meningococcal vaccination to help protect your child’s health.
Like many vaccines, meningococcal shots may cause mild side effects, like redness and soreness where the shot was given (usually in the arm). Note that both meningococcal vaccines can be given during the same visit, but in different arms. Some preteens and teens might faint after getting a meningococcal vaccine or any shot. To help avoid fainting, preteens and teens should sit or lie down when they get a shot and then for about 15 minutes after getting the shot.
The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines for children ages 18 years and younger, who are uninsured, Medicaid-eligible, American Indian or Alaska Native. You can find out more about the VFC program by going online to www.cdc.gov and typing VFC in the search box.
Ulster County Health Department has a sliding scale fee. Please call ahead of time to make an appointment. You will need id and a check stub indicating the amount of money you make a year.
Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse to learn more about meningococcal vaccines and the other vaccines that your child may need. You can also find out more about these vaccines on CDC’s Vaccines for Preteens and Teens website.
************************************************************************************************************THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH (NYSDOH) urges you to strongly
recommend and administer the second (booster) dose of vaccine against meningococcal
serogroups A, C, W-135 and Y (MenACWY vaccine; also known as Menactra, Menveo, or
MCV4 vaccine) to adolescents aged 16 years and older in order to ensure your adolescent
patients will be optimally protected and will be able to attend school in the fall.
Effective September 1, 2016, students entering grades 7,8,9, and 12 in New
York State (NYS) schools will be required to be fully vaccinated against meningococcal
disease according to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization
Practices (ACIP). The ACIP recommends that all adolescents receive a first dose of MenACWY
vaccine at 11-12 years of age and a booster dose at age 16 years in order to boost their
immunity during the years at which they are at greatest risk of meningococcal disease. If the
first dose was administered on or after the sixteenth birthday, a booster dose is not necessary.
The good news is, most young adolescents in NYS have received a first dose of
MenACWY vaccine. The National Immunization Survey-Teen (NIS-Teen) estimates that 80%
of NYS adolescents have received at least one dose of MenAWCY vaccine, and that 78% of
adolescents received the first dose on time, by 13 years of age.
Unfortunately, less than one in three older adolescents have received the
MenACWY booster. The NIS-Teen estimates that only 29% of adolescents aged 17 years have
received the booster dose of MenAWCY vaccine. This means that 70% of older adolescents
are not fully protected against meningococcal disease in the years at which they are at
highest risk for meningococcal disease.
The NYSDOH asks you to think SEARCH:
• Strongly recommend and administer the MenACWY booster dose to all adolescents
aged 16 years and older;
• Vaccinate at Every Appointment – including well child visits, sick visits, camp and sports
• Recall adolescents aged 16 years and older who are overdue for their MenACWY
booster dose; and
• Catch up adolescents overdue for doses of HPV, Tdap, and other vaccines at the same