Viral meningitis (when meningitis is caused by a virus) is the most common type of meningitis, but meningitis can also be caused by certain bacteria. Close contacts of someone with viral meningitis can become infected with the virus that made that person sick. However, these close contacts are not likely to develop meningitis. Only a small number of people who get infected with the viruses that cause meningitis will develop viral meningitis. People spread meningococcal bacteria to other people by sharing respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or spit). https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/causes-transmission.html
There are two types of meningococcal vaccines used in this country:
- Meningococcal conjugate or MenACWY vaccines
- Serogroup B meningococcal or MenB vaccines
The CDC recommends a single dose of the MenACWY vaccination at age 11 or 12, with a booster shot at 16. If the first dose is instead received in early teens, the booster is given later, before age 18.
The CDC recommends that certain adolescents and adults should receive a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine.
To learn more about the vaccines that are right for you, talk to your pharmacist, health care provider or visit the CDC website
According to the CDC, “These vaccines help protect against all three serogroups (B, C, and Y) of Neisseria meningitidis bacteria most commonly seen in the United States. Like any vaccine, meningococcal vaccines are not 100% effective. This means there is still a chance someone can develop meningococcal disease after vaccination. People should know the symptoms of meningococcal disease since early recognition and quick medical attention are extremely important.” https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/prevention.html
- Anyone who has ever had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of meningococcal vaccine or who has a severe allergy to any vaccine component
- For more information on additional warnings and precautions, visit https://www.CDC.gov/Vaccines/VPD/Mening/Public/Index.html
For more information on meningitis vaccination recommendations, visit:
There is always the possibility, as with any medicine, for side effects. After receiving the meningitis vaccine, people typically do not suffer any serious problems. Side effects, should they occur, are usually mild and disappear on their own after a few days. Although remote, serious reactions are possible.
*FOR VACCINATION AVAILABILITY: Vaccinations vary by state based on regulations. Age restrictions apply. Vaccinations are available when certified immunizer or MinuteClinic® practitioner is on duty, while supplies last. Your plan may allow you to receive the vaccine at no cost. A prescription may be needed in certain states.
*FOR BACTERIAL MENINGITIS SOURCE: Bacterial Meningitis. Last updated: July 15, 2021. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html. Accessed July 8, 2022.
*FOR PHYSICIAN ASSOCIATES: In select states. Visit MinuteClinic.com for details.
*FOR VACCINES OFFERED: Availability varies by state based on regulations. Age restrictions apply. Available when immunizing pharmacist or MinuteClinic® health care provider is on duty.