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Vaccines that protect against meningococcal infection are the best way to protect your child against this serious and sometimes fatal disease.
Vaccines are very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get meningococcal disease.
There are three types of vaccines that protect against either one (Men C or Men B) or four (Men A/C/Y/W-135) sub-types of meningococcal bacteria.
The meningococcal C conjugate vaccine protects against infection from one of the most common types of meningococcal bacteria, type C. It is provided for free as part of BC's routine infant immunization program.
The vaccine is given as a series of two doses to infants at 2 and 12 months of age. Previously, a booster dose of meningococcal C conjugate vaccine was given in grade 6 as part of the school-based immunization program. However starting in September 2016, this booster dose of meningococcal C vaccine will be replaced with the meningococcal quadrivalent conjugate vaccine which will be offered for free as part of the school-based immunization program in grade nine.
The Men-C vaccine is also provided free to people:
For more information about the Men-C vaccine, including the benefits, possible reactions after the vaccine and who should not get the vaccine, see the HealthLinkBC File: Meningococcal C Conjugate (Men-C) Vaccine.
The meningococcal quadrivalent vaccines protect against infection from four types of meningococcal bacteria: types A, C, Y and W-135. These vaccines are either conjugate or polysaccharide vaccines. Conjugate vaccines are used in BC because they provide better protection against disease.
Starting in September 2016, a meningococcal quadrivalent conjugate vaccine will be offered for free to all grade nine students. This vaccine replaces the meningococcal C conjugate vaccine that was offered in grade six and will provide protection against four strains of meningococcal bacteria: types A, C, Y and W-135.
The vaccine is also provided free to:
The vaccine is recommended, but not provided free to:
The vaccine is usually given as 1 dose or shot. Sometimes, a second dose may be necessary. Your health care provider can provide you with this information.
People who are not eligible for a free vaccine but want to be protected against meningococcal A, C, Y and W-135 strains of the disease can purchase the quadrivalent vaccine at most travel clinics and pharmacies.
For more information about the vaccine, including the benefits, possible reactions after the vaccine and who should not get the vaccine, see the HealthLinkBC File: Meningococcal Quadrivalent Vaccines.
The Men-B vaccine protects against infection by one of the most common types of meningococcal bacteria, type B. This vaccine is not part of the publicly funded routine schedule of immunizations in BC.
In BC, the Men-B vaccine is provided free to those 2 months to 55 years of age who have been in close contact with a case of meningococcal B disease.
The Men-B vaccine is recommended, but not provided free, for those who are at risk of meningococcal B infection due to certain medical conditions including:
The vaccine is also recommended, but not provided free for:
The vaccine is given by injection as a series of 2, 3 or 4 doses depending upon the age at which the immunization series is started.
People who want to be protected against meningococcal B disease may purchase the vaccine at some travel clinics and pharmacies.
For more information about the vaccine, the benefits, possible reactions after the vaccine and who should not get the vaccine, see the HealthLinkBC File: Meningococcal B (Men-B) Vaccine.
There is less Meningococcal type C disease in BC because of routine childhood vaccination programs.
Photo courtesy of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. More vaccine preventable disease images
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