Meningococcal vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide
For health professionals
Latest partial content update (see Table of updates): February 2020
February 2020: The chapter has been updated to align with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization Statement (NACI): The Use of Bivalent Factor H Binding Protein Meningococcal Serogroup B (MenB-fHBP) Vaccine for the Prevention of Meningococcal B Disease.
MenB-fHBP vaccine may be considered as an option for use in individuals 10 years of age and older in situations when a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine should be offered:
- during serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreaks or with the emergence of hyperendemic Neisseria meningitidis strains that are predicted to be susceptible to the vaccine;
- for individuals who are close contacts with a case of invasive meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis;
- for individuals with underlying medical conditions that would put them at higher risk of meningococcal disease than the general population; or
- for individuals at higher risk of exposure to serogroup B meningococcal isolates than the general population.
MenB-fHBP vaccine may be considered as an option for individuals 10–25 years of age who are not at higher risk of meningococcal disease than the general population, but who wish to reduce their risk of invasive serogroup B meningococcal disease.
Last complete chapter revision: May 2015
- Please note: The contents of this chapter are currently under consideration by NACI in context of recent changes to the following product monographs:
- BEXSERO: 4CMenB vaccine dosage for children aged 2 months to 11 months and 24 months to less than 10 years of age
- NIMENRIX®: Men-C-ACYW-TT vaccine indications and dosage for children aged 6 weeks to 23 months.
- For current product monographs please refer to Health Canada's Drug Product Database.
- Please subscribe to our mailing list to receive a notification when this chapter is updated.
On this page
- Key information
- Preparations authorized for use in Canada
- Immunogenicity, efficacy and effectiveness
- Recommendations for use
- Routine schedule
- Catch-up and accelerated schedules
- High risk individuals
- Booster doses and re-immunization
- Post-exposure management
- Outbreak control
- Vaccination of specific populations
- Serologic testing
- Administration practices
- Storage requirements
- Safety and adverse events
- Selected references
- The majority of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) is associated with Neisseria meningitidis serogroups A, B, C, Y and W-135
- IMD is endemic in Canada but occurs at low rates, with the incidence being highest in infants
- Persons at higher risk of IMD include:
- those at risk due to underlying medical conditions:
- persons with functional or anatomic asplenia, sickle cell disease, or combined T and B cell immunodeficiencies
- persons with congenital complement, properdin, factor D or primary antibody deficiencies
- persons with acquired complement deficiency due to receipt of the terminal complement inhibitor eculizumab (Soliris™)
- HIV positive individuals, especially if HIV is congenitally acquired
- those at risk due to exposure:
- travellers to areas with high rates of endemic meningococcal disease or transmission, including travellers to the meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa and pilgrims to the Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
- research, industrial and clinical laboratory personnel who may be at risk of exposure to N. meningitidis
- military personnel who are at increased risk of meningococcal disease
- those at risk due to underlying medical conditions:
- Meningococcal vaccines are initially highly effective but effectiveness wanes over time
- Healthy children: should be immunized with a monovalent conjugate C meningococcal (Men-C-C) vaccine routinely at 12 months of age; however, they may begin meningococcal immunization earlier, depending on provincial and territorial schedules. If not previously immunized as infants or toddlers, children less than 5 years of age should receive Men-C-C vaccine. It should also be considered for children 5 to 11 years of age. Additionally, a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine may be considered on an individual basis for children two months of age and older to protect against serogroup B strains expressing antigens covered by the vaccine.
- Healthy adolescents and young adults: either a Men-C-C or a quadrivalent conjugate meningococcal (Men-C-ACYW) vaccine, depending on local epidemiology and programmatic considerations, is recommended for adolescents routinely at 12 years of age, and young adults, even if they have previously been vaccinated as an infant or toddler. In addition, 4CMenB or bivalent, factor-H binding protein serogroup B meningococcal (MenB-fHBP) vaccine may be considered on an individual basis for those wishing to protect against IMD caused by relevant serogroup B strains.
- High risk individuals: Men-C-ACYW provided together with 4CMenB or MenB-fHBP vaccine is recommended for children and adults with increased risk of IMD.
- Post-exposure management: in addition to chemoprophylaxis that is recommended for close contacts, if the serogroup is vaccine-preventable, immunoprophylaxis should also be considered, depending on the exposure history.
- Routine immunization:
- Less than 12 months: give Men-C-C vaccine to healthy infants according to provincial and territorial schedules.
- 12 months to 11 years of age: give one dose of Men-C-C vaccine at 12 to 23 months of age, routinely at 12 months, whether the child has been immunized as an infant or not. For previously unimmunized children less than 5 years of age, give one dose of Men-C-C vaccine. Consider one dose of Men-C-C vaccine in children aged 5 to 11 years who were previously unimmunized.
- 12 to 24 years of age: give adolescents, routinely at 12 years of age, and young adults one dose of either Men-C-C or Men-C-ACYW vaccine, even if previously they have been vaccinated as an infant or toddler.
- High risk individuals: The choice of vaccine and recommended schedules vary with age. Immunization with periodic booster doses with Men-C-ACYW vaccine is recommended.
- Men-C-C, 4CMenB and Men-C-ACYW-CRM vaccine may be administered concomitantly with routine childhood vaccines, and Men-C-ACYW vaccine may be administered concomitantly with adolescent and adult age-appropriate vaccines.
- MenB-fHBP may be administered concomitantly with other vaccines in individuals 10 years of age and older.
- Vaccines administered concomitantly must be at different injection sites, using separate needles and syringes.
- IMD mortality is approximately 10%.
- Of IMD survivors, 10% to 20% have long term sequelae which may include hearing loss, neurologic disabilities, and digit or limb amputations.
Meningococcal disease is caused by an aerobic encapsulated diplococcus, N. meningitidis (meningococcus). Meningococcal serogroups are classified according to the immunologic reactivity of the polysaccharide capsule. Almost all invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) is associated with serogroups A, B, C, Y, and W-135. Meningococcal serogroups A, B, and C cause the majority of disease worldwide and are responsible for most sporadic cases and outbreaks. For additional information about Neisseria meningitidis, refer to the Pathogen Safety Data Sheet.
Humans are the only reservoir for N. meningitidis.
Meningococci are transmitted person-to-person by mucosal contact with respiratory droplets from the nose and throat of infected persons. Most people who are colonized with meningococci are asymptomatic carriers.
In epidemiological studies, increased incidence of IMD has been observed in individuals with: complement, properdin or factor D deficiencies; functional or anatomic asplenia; sickle cell disease; certain genetic risk factors (e.g. polymorphisms in the genes for mannose-binding lectin and tumor necrosis factor); household exposure to an infected person; recent infection with influenza; household crowding; and active and passive smoking. Persons with HIV infection may be at increased risk for meningococcal disease, especially if HIV is congenitally acquired.
Seasonal and temporal patterns
Although disease occurs year-round, there is seasonal variation, with the majority of cases occurring in the winter and spring period in temperate climates, and in the dry season in tropical climates. Most noteworthy is the "meningitis belt" of sub-Saharan Africa where the majority of cases occur from December to June. For further information, refer to the Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel (CATMAT) website.
Spectrum of clinical illness
IMD is characterized by a short incubation period (2 to 10 days, usually 3 to 4 days) and usually presents as an acute febrile illness with rapid onset and features of meningitis or septicemia (meningococcemia), or both, and a characteristic non-blanching petechial or purpuric rash. Symptoms of meningitis include intense headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, photophobia and stiff neck. Meningococcemia is characterized by circulatory collapse, hemorrhagic skin rash and a high fatality rate. Overall mortality is approximately 10%, and 10% to 20% of survivors have long term sequelae which include hearing loss, neurologic disabilities, and digit or limb amputations.
IMD occurs sporadically worldwide and in focal epidemics. In Canada, IMD is endemic and reported year round with peaks in winter. Although people at any age can develop IMD, children younger than 5 are at the greatest risk, followed by people aged 15-19 years and 60 years and up. Serogroups B, C, W-135 and Y are most commonly reported types in the country.
With the introduction of childhood immunization programs against serogroup C IMD in 2002, not unexpectedly, the incidence of serogroup C has decreased significantly over the years. While the incidence of serogroup B remains predominant, disease caused by serogroups W-135 and Y have stabilized at relatively lower incidence rates.
For more information about IMD distribution in Canada, refer to the PHAC website. Comprehensive updates on the epidemiology of IMD in Canada are published periodically in the Canada Communicable Disease Report (CCDR).
Preparations authorized for use in Canada
Monovalent conjugate meningococcal vaccines (Men-C-C)
- MENJUGATE Liquid (meningococcal group C oligosaccharide conjugated to CRM197 protein), GlaxoSmithKline Inc., (Men-C-C-CRM)
- NeisVac-C®Vaccine (meningococcal group C polysaccharide conjugated to tetanus toxoids), Pfizer Canada ULC, (Men-C-C-TT)
Quadrivalent conjugate meningococcal vaccines (Men-C-ACYW)
- Menactra® (meningococcal groups A, C, Y, and W-135 polysaccharides conjugated to diphtheria toxoid protein), Sanofi Pasteur Limited., (Men-C-ACYW-DT)
- MENVEO (meningococcal groups A, C, Y and W-135 oligosaccharides conjugated to CRM197 protein), GlaxoSmithKline Inc., (Men-C-ACYW-CRM)
- NIMENRIX® (meningococcal groups A, C, Y, and W-135 polysaccharides conjugated to tetanus toxoid protein), Pfizer Canada ULC, (Men-C-ACYW-TT)
Serogroup B meningococcal vaccines
- BEXSERO (meningococcal porin A [PorA], factor H binding protein [fHBP], neisserial antigen 2091 [GNA2091], heparin binding antigen [NHBA], neisserial antigen 1030 [GNA1030], and Neisserial adhesion A [NadA] surface proteins), GlaxoSmithKline Inc., (4CMenB)
- Trumenba® (subfamily A and B factor-H binding protein [fHBP]), Pfizer Canada ULC, (MenB-fHBP)
For complete prescribing information, consult the product leaflet or information contained within Health Canada's authorized product monographs available through the Drug Product Database. Refer to Contents of Immunizing Agents Available for Use in Canada in Part 1 for a list of all vaccines available for use in Canada and their contents.
Immunogenicity, efficacy and effectiveness
Men-C-C and Men-C-ACYW vaccines are immunogenic in infants and toddlers but those vaccinated in infancy show a waning immune response over time. Vaccination with conjugate meningococcal vaccine primes the immune system for memory and induces good anamnestic responses; however, anamnestic response may not be sufficient to prevent disease after exposure and circulating antibodies are thought to be essential. In comparison to polysaccharide meningococcal vaccine, conjugate meningococcal vaccines demonstrate greater immunogenicity and induce better immunologic memory. Conjugate meningococcal vaccines do not result in hyporesponsiveness and have been shown to overcome the hyporesponsiveness evident with polysaccharide meningococcal vaccine usage. In clinical trials, the 4CMenB vaccine has shown to be immunogenic in toddlers and children after at least two doses, and in adolescents and adults after one dose. In adolescents and adults, a more robust immune response has been observed in clinical trials following the use of a three-dose compared to a two-dose MenB-fHBP vaccine schedule.
Efficacy and effectiveness
A study of Men-C-C vaccine demonstrated effectiveness in infants of 97% within one year of vaccination, decreasing to 68% after 1 year. Longer term vaccine effectiveness requires receipt of a booster dose in the second year of life for those immunized in infancy. Vaccine effectiveness of Men-C-ACYW-DT within 3 to 4 years of vaccination in adolescence is 80% to 85%; however, effectiveness wanes over time. There are no efficacy or effectiveness data available for Men-C-ACYW-CRM, Men-C-ACYW-TT, MenB-fHBP or 4CMenB vaccines. Vaccine effectiveness measured at the individual level may under-estimate the impact of the immunization programs on the burden of meningococcal disease in the community, due to the additional benefit conferred by herd immunity.
Recommendations for use
Healthy infants and children (2 to 23 months of age)
Infants may receive Men-C-C vaccine beginning at 2 months of age, depending on the provincial and territorial schedule and the incidence of meningococcal serogroup C disease in their jurisdiction. One dose of Men-C-C vaccine is recommended for all children at 12 to 23 months of age, regardless of any doses given during the first year of life. Men-C-C is routinely given at 12 months of age if they have not previously been immunized as infants or toddlers. In addition, immunization with 4CMenB vaccine may be considered on an individual basis, depending on individual preferences, regional serogroup B epidemiology and strain susceptibility.
Healthy adolescents and young adults (12 to 24 years of age)
Either Men-C-C or Men-C-ACYW vaccine, depending on local epidemiology and programmatic considerations, is recommended for adolescents, routinely at 12 years of age and young adults, even if they have previously been vaccinated as an infant or toddler. In addition, 4CMenB or MenB-fHBP vaccine may be considered on an individual basis, depending on the individual preferences, regional serogroup B epidemiology and strain susceptibility.
Catch-up and accelerated schedules
Healthy infants and children (2 to 11 years of age)
One dose of Men-C-C vaccine is recommended in unimmunized children less than 5 years of age. One dose of Men-C-C vaccine may be considered for children 5 to 11 years of age if they have not previously been immunized as infants or toddlers. Immunization with 4CMenB vaccine (2 years of age and older) or MenB-fHBP (10 years of age and older) may be considered on an individual basis, depending on individual preferences, regional serogroup B epidemiology and strain susceptibility.
High risk individuals
Meningococcal vaccines are recommended for individuals with underlying medical conditions and those who are at increased risk of exposure to meningococcal disease.
Underlying medical conditions
Individuals with increased risk of meningococcal disease because of underlying medical conditions include the following:
- persons with congenital complement, properdin, factor D or primary antibody deficiencies
- individuals with HIV, especially if it is congenitally acquired
Increased risk of exposure
Individuals at increased risk of exposure to meningococcal disease include the following:
- travellers to areas with high rates of endemic meningococcal disease or transmission, including travellers to the meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa and pilgrims to the Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Refer to Travellers section for additional information.
- research, industrial and clinical laboratory personnel who are potentially routinely exposed to N. meningitidis. Refer to Workers section for additional information.
- military personnel during recruit training and on certain deployments. Refer to Military personnel section for additional information.
Meningococcal vaccine is also recommended for most close contacts of a case of IMD and for outbreak control, if the disease is caused by a serogroup contained in the vaccine. Refer to Post-exposure management and Outbreak control for additional information.
Age considerations for choice of vaccine for high risk groups
2 to 23 months of age
Based on available published data in this age group, Men-C-ACWY-CRM should be used because it has been found to be safe and immunogenic. Routine meningococcal C conjugate vaccine does not need to be administered in addition to Men-C-ACWY-CRM. For toddlers and children who may be at increased high risk of IMD caused by serogroup B, 4CMenB vaccine should also be offered.
24 months to 9 years of age
Any of the Men-C-ACYW vaccines may be used. For individuals who are at high risk of IMD caused by serogroup B, 4CMenB vaccine should also be offered.
10 years of age and older
Any of the Men-C-ACYW vaccines may be used. For individuals who are at high risk of IMD caused by serogroup B, 4CMenB or MenB-fHBP vaccine should also be offered.
Refer, Table 3 for recommended vaccination for certain travellers.
|2 to 11 months of age||Men-C-ACYW-CRMTable 1 - Footnote 3 and 4CMenB||2 or 3 dosesTable 1 - Footnote 4 given 8 weeks apart (with another dose between 12-23 months of age that is at least 8 weeks from the previous dose)|
|12 to 23 months of age||Men-C-ACYW-CRMTable 1 - Footnote 3 and 4CMenB||2 doses (given at least 8 weeks apart)Table 1 - Footnote 5|
|24 months to 9 years of age||Men-C-ACYW Table 1 - Footnote 3 and 4CMenB||2 doses (given at least 8 weeks apart)Table 1 - Footnote 5|
|10 years of age and olderTable 1 - Footnote 6||Men-C-ACYWTable 1 - Footnote 3 and 4CMenB or MenB-fHBP||2 doses of Men-C-ACYW (given 8 weeks apart)Table 1 - Footnote 5; 2 doses of 4CMenB (given at least 4 weeks apart) or 3 doses of MenB-fHBP (given 4 weeks apart, with another dose at least 4 months after dose two and at least 6 months after dose one)|
Booster doses and re-immunization
Circulating antibodies are considered necessary to protect an individual against IMD. Re-vaccination is recommended as follows:
- For individuals at high risk of developing meningococcal disease due to underlying medical conditions, refer to High risk individuals, Underlying medical conditions. Re-vaccination with Men-C-ACYW is recommended every 3 to 5 years for those vaccinated at 6 years of age and younger and every 5 years for those vaccinated at 7 years of age and older.
- When travelling to areas where meningococcal vaccine is recommended or required, re-vaccination with Men-C-ACYW is recommended every 3 to 5 years of age for those vaccinated at 6 years of age and younger, and every 5 years for those vaccinated at 7 years of age and older. Previously vaccinated travellers are advised to check requirements for re-vaccination with meningococcal vaccines prior to travel to the Hajj as more frequent vaccination may be required (refer to http://www.moh.gov.sa/en/Hajj/Pages/default.aspx and Travellers).
- For military personnel who remain at risk due to travel or overcrowded conditions, a booster dose of Men-C-ACYW is recommended every 5 years if at ongoing risk.
- At the time of exposure for contacts of a case of IMD in some circumstances. Refer to Post-exposure management.
- During a community outbreak of IMD in some circumstances. Refer to Post-exposure management.
- For all laboratory personnel who are potentially routinely exposed to N. meningitidis. Booster doses of Men-C-ACYW should be given at routine 5 year intervals for those laboratory workers who remain at ongoing risk of exposure. Refer to Workers.
People previously vaccinated with a polysaccharide meningococcal vaccine should be re-vaccinated with the appropriate conjugate or serogroup B meningococcal vaccine if they remain at ongoing risk for meningococcal disease. Conjugated meningococcal vaccine should be given at least a 6 months following vaccination with polysaccharide meningococcal vaccine. The timing of 4CMenB or MenB-fHBP booster doses has not yet been determined.
Contacts of cases
Close contacts of individuals with meningococcal infections have an increased risk of developing IMD; this risk is greatest for household contacts. The increased risk of disease for household contacts persists for up to 1 year after disease in the index case and beyond any protection from antibiotic chemoprophylaxis. In general, this prolonged risk is not seen in contacts who do not have ongoing exposure.
Chemoprophylaxis should be offered to all persons having close contact with a case of IMD from 7 days before onset of symptoms in the case to 24 hours after onset of effective treatment in the case, regardless of their immunization status. Refer to the PHAC Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Meningococcal Disease for information about chemoprophylaxis in the management of close contacts of individuals with meningococcal infection.
Vaccination or re-vaccination of certain close contacts should be considered in addition to chemoprophylaxis when the serogroup is vaccine preventable, as it may further reduce the risk of subsequent meningococcal disease.
Close contacts requiring chemoprophylaxis and consideration for immunoprophylaxis
The following individuals (regardless of immunization status) should receive chemoprophylaxis and, if the meningococcal serogroup identified in the case of IMD is vaccine preventable, should also be considered for immunoprophylaxis:
- Household contacts of a case of IMD
- Persons who share sleeping arrangements with a case of IMD
- Persons who have direct nose or mouth contamination with oral or nasal secretions of a case of IMD (e.g., kissing on the mouth, shared cigarettes, sharing bottles)
- Children and staff in contact with a case of IMD in child care or nursery school facilities
Refer to Table 2 for specific recommendations for immunoprophylaxis of close contacts of IMD cases according to the serogroup in the index case and the age and underlying conditions of the contact.
Re-vaccination criteria for those previously vaccinated against IMD
The following provides criteria for the re-vaccination of previously vaccinated close contacts when the index case has a vaccine preventable IMD serogroup or there is a vaccine preventable outbreak of IMD:
- Those previously vaccinated with a serogroup that differs from the index case or outbreak strain should be vaccinated immediately with the appropriate vaccine (as outlined in Table 2);
- Those previously vaccinated with a serogroup that is the same as the index case or outbreak strain should be re-vaccinated with the appropriate vaccine (as outlined in Table 2);
- If they were less than 1 year of age at last meningococcal vaccination and more than 4 weeks has passed since their last meningococcal vaccine;
- If they have an underlying medical condition that puts them at risk for meningococcal disease and more than 4 weeks has passed since their last meningococcal vaccine;
- If more than a year has passed since their last meningococcal vaccine, if they were not less than 1 year of age at the time of their last meningococcal vaccination and if they have no underlying medical condition that puts them at risk for meningococcal disease.
Close contacts requiring chemoprophylaxis only
The following individuals should receive chemoprophylaxis only, immunoprophylaxis is not necessary:
- Health care workers who have had intensive unprotected contact (without wearing a mask) with infected patients (i.e., intubating, resuscitating or closely examining the oropharynx).
- Airline passengers sitting immediately on either side of the case (but not across the aisle) when the total time spent aboard the aircraft was at least 8 hours.
- Close contacts of a case of IMD due to serogroups not present in meningococcal vaccines, or when the serogroup in the index case has not been determined.
- Previously vaccinated close contacts who do not meet the criteria for re-vaccination as outline above.
Outbreaks of meningococcal disease
Consultation with public health officials, experts in communicable disease, or both is important in the assessment and control of meningococcal disease outbreaks. Outbreaks may be controlled by the use of a conjugate meningococcal vaccine. The type of vaccine to use in an outbreak is dependent on the serogroup causing the outbreak and the age of those being vaccinated as outlined in Table 2. Re-vaccination criteria of previously vaccinated individuals are outlined above in Re-vaccination criteria for those previously vaccinated against IMD.
|Close contacts and outbreak control of serogroup C invasive meningococcal disease|
2 months to less than 12 months of age
Unvaccinated: 1 dose immediately after exposure then complete the routine series of Men-C-C
Previously vaccinated: If previously vaccinated then re-vaccinate with Men-C-C if at least 4 weeks have elapsed since last dose, then complete the routine series of Men-C-C if necessary
12 months - 10 years of age
Unvaccinated: 1 dose immediately after exposure
Previously vaccinated: If previously vaccinated at less than 1 year of age OR person is at high risk for IMD due to underlying medical conditionsTable 2 - Footnote 1, then re-vaccinate with one dose of Men-C-C if at least 4 weeks since last dose; otherwise re-vaccinate if at least 1 year since last dose
11 years of age and older
Unvaccinated: 1 dose immediately after exposure
Previously vaccinated: If previously vaccinated at less than 1 year of age OR person is at high risk for IMD due to underlying medical conditionsTable 2 - Footnote 1, then re-vaccinate with one dose of vaccine of choice if at least 4 weeks since last dose; otherwise re-vaccinate if at least 1 year since last dose
|Close contacts and outbreak control of serogroup A, Y, or W-135 invasive meningococcal disease|
2 months to less than 12 months of age
Unvaccinated: 2 or 3 doses given 8 weeks apart with another dose between 12 and 23 months and at least 8 weeks from the previous dose
12 to 23 months of age
Unvaccinated: 2 doses at least 8 weeks apart
2 years and older
Unvaccinated: 1 dose immediately after exposureFootnote 3
|Close contacts and outbreak control of serogroup B invasive meningococcal diseaseTable 2 - Footnote 4|
|2 months to less than 6 months||4CMenB||
Unvaccinated: 1 dose immediately after exposureTable 2 - Footnote 5; then re-vaccinate with 2 more doses with at least a 4 week interval between doses.
Previously vaccinated: 1 dose immediately after exposureTable 2 - Footnote 5
|6 months to less than 10 years||4CMenB||
Unvaccinated: 1 dose immediately after exposureTable 2 - Footnote 5; then re-vaccinate with a single dose after at least 8 weeks.
Previously vaccinated: 1 dose immediately after exposureTable 2 - Footnote 5
|10 years and older||4CMenB or MenB-fHBP||
Unvaccinated: 1 dose immediately after exposureTable 2 - Footnote 5; then re-vaccinate with a single dose after at least 4 weeks with 4CMenB or MenB-fHBP.
Previously vaccinated: 1 dose immediately after exposureTable 2 - Footnote 5
Vaccination of specific populations
Persons with inadequate immunization records
Children and adults lacking adequate documentation of immunization should be considered unimmunized and started on an immunization schedule appropriate for their age and risk factors. Conjugate meningococcal vaccine, as appropriate for age, may be given regardless of possible previous receipt of the vaccine, as adverse events associated with repeated immunization have not been demonstrated. Refer to Immunization of persons with inadequate immunization records in Part 3 for additional general information.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Conjugate and serogroup B meningococcal vaccines have not been studied in pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, there is no theoretical reason to suspect that adverse events will occur and, in circumstances in which the benefits outweigh the risks (i.e. in high risk individuals due to exposure or underlying medical conditions), the use of conjugate and serogroup B meningococcal vaccines in pregnancy and breastfeeding may be considered. Refer to Immunization in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding in Part 3 for additional information.
Infants born prematurely
Premature infants in stable clinical condition should be immunized with conjugate meningococcal vaccine at the same chronological age and according to the same schedule as full-term infants. Infants born prematurely, especially those weighing less than 1,500 grams at birth are at higher risk of apnea and bradycardia following vaccination. Hospitalized premature infants should have continuous cardiac and respiratory monitoring for 48 hours after their first immunization. Refer to Immunization of Infants Born Prematurely in Part 3 for additional general information.
Persons/residents in health care institutions
Residents of long-term care facilities should receive meningococcal vaccine as appropriate for their risk factors. Refer to Immunization of Patients in Health Care Institutions in Part 3 for additional general information.
Persons with chronic diseases
Two doses of Men-C-ACYW vaccine are recommended for persons with anatomic or functional asplenia, including sickle cell disease. When elective splenectomy is planned, all recommended vaccines should ideally be completed at least 2 weeks before surgery; if only one dose can be given before surgery, the second dose should be given 8 weeks after the first dose, with a minimum interval of 4 weeks. In the case of an emergency splenectomy, two doses of vaccine should ideally be given beginning 2 weeks after surgery but can be given earlier, before discharge, if the person might not return for vaccination after discharge. Persons one year of age and older with asplenia who have not received Men-C-ACYW vaccine should receive two doses administered 8 weeks apart, with a minimum interval of 4 weeks. In addition, 4CMenB or MenB-fHBP vaccine should be offered. Periodic booster doses with Men-C-ACYW vaccine are also recommended.
Refer to Table 1 for vaccination recommendations of high risk individuals due to underlying conditions. Refer to Booster doses and re-immunization for additional information and Immunization of Persons with Chronic Diseases in Part 3 for additional general information.
Quadrivalent conjugate meningococcal vaccine provided with 4CMenB or MenB-fHBP vaccine is recommended for certain high risk individuals as outlined under High risk individuals above. People with conditions requiring the receipt of the terminal complement inhibitor eculizumab (Soliris™) should be vaccinated at least two weeks prior to receiving the first dose of eculizumab. When considering immunization of an immunocompromised person, consultation with the individual's attending physician may be of assistance in addition to the guidance provided below. For complex cases, referral to a physician with expertise in immunization or immunodeficiency is advised.
Travellers should be vaccinated with Men-C-ACYW vaccine alone or in combination with 4CMenB or MenB-fHBP vaccine, depending on the risk of meningococcal disease in the area of travel. Men-C-C vaccine alone is not appropriate for protection of travellers, as it does not protect against serogroup A, which is endemic in selected regions of the world (e.g. sub-Saharan Africa), or serogroup W-135 disease. 4CMenB or MenB-fHBP vaccine is recommended for individuals travelling to an area with a hyperendemic strain or an outbreak that is known to be caused by a serotype B that can be prevented by the vaccine. Current meningococcal disease outbreak information is available from the WHO.
Refer to Table 3 for recommended immunization for travellers to destinations where risk of meningococcal transmission is high.
Proof of meningococcal immunization may be required by certain countries. For example, Saudi Arabia requires proof of immunization with a quadrivalent (ACYW-135) vaccine for travellers with the purpose of Umrah or pilgrimage (Hajj) or for seasonal work. Refer to the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health website for information regarding vaccination requirements. Refer to Immunization of Travellers in Part 3 for additional information.
Refer to the CATMAT information on assessing a traveller's need for pre-travel vaccination.
|Age||Recommended vaccine(s)||ScheduleTable 3 - Footnote 1Table 3- Footnote 2|
|2 to 11 months of age||Men-C-ACYW-CRM or 4CMenB|
|12 to 23 months of age||Men-C-ACYW-CRM or 4CMenB||
2 doses (given at least 8 weeks apart)Table 3 - Footnote 4
|24 months to 9 years of age||Men-C-ACYW or 4CMenB||
1 dose of Men-C-ACYW; 2 doses of 4CMenB (given at least 8 weeks apart)
|10 years of age and olderTable 3 - Footnote 5||Men-C-ACYW or 4CMenB or MenB-fHBP||
1 dose of Men-C-ACYW; 2 doses of 4CMenB (given at least 4 weeks apart) or 2 doses of MenB-fHBP (given at least 6 months apart) or 3 doses of MenB-fHBP (given 4 weeks apart, with another dose at least 4 months after dose two)
Persons new to Canada
Health care providers who see persons newly arrived in Canada should review the immunization status and update immunization for these individuals. Review of meningococcal vaccination status is particularly important for persons from areas of the world where sickle cell disease is present as persons with sickle cell disease are at risk of serious meningococcal infections. In many countries outside of Canada, conjugate meningococcal vaccines are in limited use. Information on vaccination schedules in other countries can be found on the World Health Organization website. Refer to Immunization of Persons New to Canada in Part 3 for additional general information.
Research, industrial and clinical laboratory personnel who are potentially routinely exposed to N. meningitidis should be offered one dose of Men-C-ACYW vaccine and two doses of 4CMenB vaccine given at least 4 weeks apart or two doses of MenB-fHBP vaccine given at least 6 months apart. Re-vaccination is generally recommended every 5 years for Men-C-ACYW. There are currently no booster dose recommendations for serogroup B meningococcal vaccines. Routine infection control precautions should be practiced at all times to minimize the risk of exposure in laboratory workers and post-exposure prophylaxis should be offered after recognized exposures. Refer to Booster doses and re-immunization for additional information.
Health care workers (HCW)
Nosocomial transmission of IMD is very uncommon. HCW are considered as close contacts only if they have had intensive, unprotected contact (without wearing a mask) with infected patients (e.g., intubating, resuscitating or closely examining the oropharynx). It is recommended that HCW use barrier precautions to avoid direct contact with respiratory secretions of patients with meningococcal disease until the patient has completed 24 hours of effective antibiotic therapy, according to provincial and territorial communicable disease control guidelines.
There is no evidence to recommend routine meningococcal immunization of HCW since the risk period for acquisition ends when contact with an untreated patient terminates, and antibiotic chemoprophylaxis should be sufficient in the high-risk situation described above.
Military personnel may be at increased risk of IMD when accommodated in close quarters or through deployment to endemic or epidemic countries.
Refer to Immunization of Workers in Part 3 for additional general information.
Serologic testing is not recommended before or after receiving meningococcal vaccine.
Dose and route of administration
Each dose of meningococcal vaccine is 0.5 mL.
Route of administration
Conjugate and serogroup B meningococcal vaccines should be administered intramuscularly (IM). Refer to Vaccine Administration Practices in Part 1 for additional information.
Interchangeability of vaccines
There are no published data regarding the interchangeability of Men-C-C vaccines, but the vaccines have been safely interchanged without a noticeable decrease in efficacy. When possible, the infant series should be completed with the same vaccine. Either Men-C-ACYW vaccine may be used for re-vaccination, regardless of which meningococcal vaccine was used for initial vaccination. The serogroup B meningococcal vaccines are not interchangeable as they contain different antigens and there are no published studies on the immunogenicity resulting from a vaccination series combining the two products. Therefore, the same vaccine product should be used for all doses in a vaccination series. If, in a person with an incomplete vaccination series, it is unknown what vaccine product they initially received, the initial dose(s) should be discounted and the vaccination series repeated using the same vaccine product for all doses in the new, repeated series.
Refer to Principles of Vaccine Interchangeability in Part 1 for additional general information.
Simultaneous administration with other vaccines
Men-C-C and 4CMenB vaccine may be administered concomitantly with routine childhood vaccines, and Men-C-ACYW vaccine may be administered concomitantly with adolescent and adult age appropriate vaccines. MenB-fHBP can be given concomitantly with quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine; meningococcal serogroup A, C, Y, W conjugate vaccine; and tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine adsorbed. The concomitant administration of MenB-fHBP has not been studied with other vaccines.
Men-C-ACYW-CRM can be administered with routine paediatric vaccines; however, further studies are needed with regard to concomitant administration with pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine. Co-administration of Men-C-ACYW-CRM and combined tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) may result in a lower immune response to the pertussis antigens than when Tdap vaccine is given alone; however, the clinical significance of this is unknown. Tdap vaccine given one month after Men-C-ACYW-CRM induces the strongest immunologic response to pertussis antigens.
If vaccines are to be administered concomitantly with another vaccine, a separate injection site and a different syringe must be used for each injection.
Refer to Timing of Vaccine Administration in Part 1 for additional general information.
Menactra®, NeisVac-C® Vaccine, Trumenba®: Store in a refrigerator at +2°C to +8°C. Do not freeze.
BEXSERO, MENJUGATE Liquid, MENVEO, NIMENRIX®: Store in a refrigerator at +2°C to +8°C. Do not freeze. Protect from light.
Refer to Storage and Handling of Immunizing Agents in Part 1 for additional general information.
Safety and adverse events
Refer to Vaccine safety and pharmacovigilance in Part 2 for additional general information.
Common and local adverse events
Conjugate meningococcal vaccines
Injection site reactions occur in up to 59% of vaccinees. Fever is reported in up to 5% of recipients and systemic reactions, such as headache and malaise, are reported in up to 60% of recipients.
Mild reactions, including injection site reactions (redness, tenderness, and swelling), occur in up to 50% of vaccine recipients. Irritability occurs in up to 80% of infants and fever in up to 9% when other vaccines were administered. Headaches and malaise occur in up to 10% of older children and adults. These reactions last no more than a few days.
Serogroup B Meningococcal vaccines
Solicited local and systemic reactions have been commonly reported in clinical trials and include injection site tenderness, induration, sleepiness and irritability. Higher rates of fever have been observed with simultaneous administration of 4CMenB vaccine and routine infant vaccines; therefore, routine prophylactic administration of acetaminophen or separating 4CMenB vaccination from routine vaccination schedule has been proposed for preventing fever in infants and children up to three years of age.
Solicited local and systemic reactions have been commonly reported in clinical trials and include injection site tenderness, induration and irritability.
Less common and serious or severe adverse events
Serious adverse events are rare following immunization and, in most cases, data are insufficient to determine a causal association.
Guidance on reporting adverse events following immunization (AEFI)
To ensure the ongoing safety of vaccines in Canada, reporting of AEFIs by vaccine providers and other clinicians is critical, and in some jurisdictions, reporting is mandatory under the law.
Vaccine providers are asked to report AEFIs, through local public health officials, and to check for specific AEFI reporting requirements in their province or territory. In general, any serious or unexpected adverse event felt to be temporally related to vaccination should be reported.
For additional information about AEFI reporting, please refer to Adverse events following immunization. For general vaccine safety information, refer to Vaccine safety and pharmacovigilance in Part 2.
Contraindications and precautions
Meningococcal vaccine is contraindicated in persons with a history of anaphylaxis after previous administration of the vaccine and in persons with proven immediate or anaphylactic hypersensitivity to any component of the vaccine or its container. Refer to Table 1 in Contents of Immunizing Agents Available for Use in Canada in Part 1 for lists of all vaccines available for use in Canada and their contents.
There are very few individuals who cannot receive meningococcal vaccines. In situations of suspected hypersensitivity or non-anaphylactic allergy to vaccine components, investigation is indicated, which may involve immunization in a controlled setting. Consultation with an allergist is advised.
Administration of meningococcal vaccine should be postponed in persons with moderate or severe acute illness. Persons with minor acute illness, with or without fever, may be vaccinated.
Refer to Contraindications and Precautions in Part 2 for additional general information.
- Canadian Immunization Committee. Supplement: Advice for Consideration of Quadrivalent (A, C, Y, W135) Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine, for use by Provinces and Territories. Can Commun Dis Rep 2010;36(S2):1-35.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Laboratory-acquired meningococcemia - California and Massachusetts. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1991;40(3):46-7, 55.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevention and control of meningococcal disease: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2005;54(RR-7):1-21.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated Recommendations for Use of Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccines - Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2010. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2011;60(03):72-76.
- Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel (CATMAT). Statement on meningococcal vaccination for travellers. Can Commun Dis Rep 2009;35(ASC4):1-22.
- Meningococcal B Pilot Project Task Group. The Recommended Use of the Multicomponent Meningococcal B (4CMenB) Vaccine in Canada: Common Guidance Statement. Public Health Agency of Canada. March 2014 (Catalogue no. HP40-103/2014E-PDF).
- National Advisory Committee on Immunization. Statement on conjugate meningococcal vaccine for serogroups A, C, Y and W135. Can Commun Dis Rep 2007;33(ACS-3):1-24.
- National Advisory Committee on Immunization. Update on the Use of Quadrivalent Conjugate Meningococcal Vaccines. Can Commun Dis Rep 2013;39(ACS-1)
- National Advisory Committee on Immunization. Update on the Invasive Meningococcal Disease and Meningococcal Vaccine Conjugate Recommendations. Can Commun Dis Rep 2009;36(ACS-3):1-40.
- National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).Update on quadrivalent meningococcal vaccines available in Canada. Public Health Agency of Canada. October 2014 (Catalogue no. HP40-125/2014E-PDF).
- GlaxoSmithKline Inc. Product Monograph – MENJUGATE Liquid. June 2019.
- GlaxoSmithKline Inc. Product Monograph – MENVEO. February 2019.
- GlaxoSmithKline Inc. Product Monograph – BEXSERO. February 2019.
- Sanofi Pasteur Limited. Product Monograph – Menactra®. November 2017.
- Pfizer Canada ULC. Product Monograph – NeisVac-C® Vaccine. May 2019.
- Pfizer Canada ULC. Product Monograph – NIMENRIX®. December 2018.
- Pfizer Canada ULC. Product Monograph – Trumenba® Vaccine. May 2019.
- PHLS Meningococcal Infections Working Group and Public Health Medicine Environmental Group. Control of meningococcal disease: guidance for consultants in communicable disease control. Commune Dis Rep CDR Rev 1995;5(13):R189-95.
- Public Health Agency of Canada. Guidelines for the prevention and control of meningococcal disease. Can Commun Dis Rep 2005;31(S1):1-26.
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