Meningococcal Disease

Did you know?

 Up to 15 in 100 people with meningococcal infection will die, even if they receive treatment. 

I Lost My Friend To Meningitis

It only took 4 days for meningitis to take Leo's life.

Sherry's story

Listen to Sherry tell her story about how she lost her son to meningitis.

The disease

  • Meningococcal infection is caused by a bacteria.
  • Meningococcal infection is spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing, or close face-to-face contact. It can also be spread through saliva. This can occur through activities such as kissing or sharing of food, drinks, cigarettes, lipsticks, water bottles, mouth guards used for sports, or mouthpieces of musical instruments.
  • Although rare, it can cause serious and life-threatening infections including meningitis, an infection of the lining that covers the brain, and septicemia, an infection of the blood.
  • Permanent complications of infection include brain damage, deafness, and loss of limbs.

The vaccines

There are three types of meningococcal vaccines that protect against either one (Men C or Men B) or four (Men A/C/Y/W-135) types of meningococcal bacteria.

Meningococcal C (Men-C) Vaccine

  • The Men-C vaccine protects against one type of meningococcal bacteria, type C.
  • This vaccine is given to infants as a series of two doses. The first is given at 2 months of age, and the second at 12 months.
  • The vaccine is also free for people:
    • Born before 2002 who are 24 years of age and under who did not get a dose of vaccine on or after their 10th birthday.
    • Who have been in close contact with someone with meningococcal type C disease.

Meningococcal Quadrivalent Vaccine

  • The meningococcal quadrivalent vaccine protects against four types of meningococcal bacteria, types A, C, Y and W-135.
  • The vaccine is provided free to children in Grade 9.
  • The vaccine is also provided free to children and adults at high risk of meningococcal disease (such as those with certain medical conditions and those who have been in close contact with a person with meningococcal disease).
  • The vaccine is recommended, but not provided free, for those with occupational risks and those living or travelling in a high-risk area for meningococcal disease.

Click here for a complete list of vaccine recommendations and eligibility criteria.

Meningococcal B (Men-B) Vaccine

  • The Men-B vaccine protects against one type of meningococcal bacteria, type B.
  • This vaccine is not part of the publicly funded routine schedule of immunizations in BC. 
  • This 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 vaccine is recommended, but not provided free, for those who are at high risk of meningococcal B infection due to certain medical conditions, those with occupational risks and those travelling to an area where the risk of meningococcal B disease is high.

Click here for a complete list of vaccine recommendations and eligibility criteria.