Meningitis Vaccine: Definition, Types, Who Needs It, and Side Effects – Vaccination is one of the main preventive means against infections that cause inflammation of the brain membranes or meningitis. The vaccine is able to boost immunity to prevent infection from organisms in the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord. There are several types of vaccines that can fight viral or bacteria infections that cause serious meningitis.
Meningitis is caused by inflammation that occurs in the meninges membrane. This membrane is a layer that protects the brain and spinal cord.
Infections by other organisms such as fungi and parasites can also result in meningitis, but are less common.
Meningitis is a disease that is difficult to detect early because the symptoms often appear suddenly.
What is Meningitis Vaccine?
Meningitis vaccine is a vaccine to prevent meningitis that can cause inflammation of the membranes of the brain (meninges) and spinal cord. The disease is usually caused by a meningococcal bacterial infection. Meningitis vaccine must be given to prospective Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, but this vaccine is also acceptable to all people who want and need to avoid the disease.
Diseases caused by meningococcal bacterial infections can deteriorate rapidly and are life-threatening. Adolescents are the most at high risk of experiencing it.
About 10-15 percent of meningitis sufferers die despite being treated with antibiotic drugs. While about 20 percent of sufferers experience permanent complications, such as hearing loss or brain damage.
Therefore, the administration of meningitis vaccine is highly recommended for the prevention of this disease.
Meningitis Vaccine Types
There are several types of vaccinations to prevent meningitis. Among others:
This vaccine is given to people over the age of two. The vaccine can provide immunity for three years after vaccination, but cannot initiate for life.
Polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines
This vaccine is given to people over the age of one year. The vaccine can provide immunity more than five years after vaccination, and can initiate lifelong immunity.
Combination vaccine (HibMenC)
This vaccine is given to provide immunity to meningitis caused by Haemophilus influenzae type B as well as the Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C bacteria.
Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) and Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4)
The first dose of the MCV4 vaccine is administered when the child is 11-12 years old. The advanced dose (booster) is given a five-year interval.
This vaccine can prevent pneumonia, meningitis, as well as blood infections (bacteremia). The vaccine is administered at 3 times the base dose and once a booster.
Who needs the meningitis vaccine?
Meningitis is endemic to Africa. However, meningitis are now spreading throughout the world.
Everyone of any age can contract meningitis. However, some groups of people are indeed at higher risk of being infected with meningitis-causing bacteria.
They need protection against this inflammatory disease of the brain membranes through vaccination.
There are some people who need to get vaccinated to prevent meningitis, namely:
- People who will travel abroad, especially endemic areas of meningitis, Umrah, and hajj need to get meningitis vaccinations
- People who will attend international events over a long period of time such as Olympics, festivals, jamborees, and so on also need to be given meningitis vaccine
- People living in one roof with meningitis sufferers also need to be vaccinated for meningitis
- Other groups that need to be vaccinated are children, medical workers, people with immune disorders, people with spleen damage.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following are the criteria for people who are recommended to inject meningitis:
- Pre-teen and adolescents aged 11-12 years. Although meningitis caused by Meningococcal bacteria is rare, teenagers aged 16-23 are the most at risk of infection.
- People who will travel or live in countries where meningitis is prevalent
- Suffered spleen damage or no spleen.
- Experiencing immune system disorders due to certain diseases, such as HIV/AIDS or cancer.
- Have a rare immune system disorder (complement component deficiency).
- Taking complement inhibitor drugs such as Soliris or Ultorimis.
- Had meningitis before.
- Working in a laboratory where often conducts direct research with meningitis-causing bacteria.
Meningitis Vaccine Side Effects
One in ten people who are injected with the ACWY vaccine will get pain and rash around the injection wound. Usually these side effects will last for one to two days. Serious reactions are rare, but mild fever can occur. The condition is more common in children than older persons.
- Image: Peter Grotzinger, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
- Video: Australian Government Department of Health
Last Updated on August 3, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team