Invasive Meningococcal Disease

Prevention

How can invasive meningococcal disease be prevented?

The most important way to prevent meningococcal disease is to make sure you and your children are vaccinated. There are meningococcal vaccines for five different strains of meningococcal disease. These five strains (A, B, C, Y and W-135) cause the deadly forms of the disease.

Provinces and territories vaccinate healthy infants against meningococcal type C meningitis at 12 months of age. Some provinces and territories begin meningococcal immunization earlier than others.

Adolescents and young adults receive:

  • another booster shot with meningococcal vaccine (type C) or
  • a booster shot containing serogroups C, A, Y, and W-135 (depending on the province or territory)

Adults from certain vulnerable groups should also receive a booster shot. Vaccine against meningococcal type B also exists but is not routinely given in Canada.

Talk to your health care provider about which vaccine is right for you.

Are you travelling to a higher risk area? Visit your health care provider at least six weeks before you leave to discuss your options. You may need a vaccine booster shot.

The vaccine is given by needle and is very safe. Like all vaccines authorized for use in Canada, they went through several stages of rigorous testing before being authorized for use.

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