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Get your meningitis (meningococcal) vaccine today

A mother and her sons compare bandages after getting vaccinated.

Important information about meningitis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends “meningococcal vaccinations for all preteens and teens.”* In certain situations, the CDC also recommends other people get meningococcal vaccines.

What you should know about meningitis

Meningitis can be caused by bacteria

Meningitis is a disease that can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, resulting in inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and the spinal cord. The CDC reports that while most people with bacterial meningitis recover, it can cause serious complications,* “such as brain damage, hearing loss or learning disabilities.”

A microscopic image of the bacteria that causes meningitis.

A vaccine is the best way to be protected

A vaccination is the most effective way to protect yourself against certain types of meningitis. If you are at high risk, be proactive and get vaccinated before getting sick.

The early signs of meningitis can resemble the flu. That's why prevention is critical.

A child blows his nose.

All preteens and teens should be vaccinated

The CDC recommends “meningococcal vaccinations for all preteens and teens.” In certain situations, the CDC also recommends other people get meningococcal vaccines.

Talk to your or your child’s doctor about what is best for your specific situation. 

A father walks with his sons after leaving a CVS pharmacy location.

Ready to get vaccinated?

A CVS pharmacy location.

Get vaccinated at a CVS Pharmacy® location

Vaccinations are available* at more than 9,000 CVS Pharmacy locations and are administered by a certified immunizer.

Get vaccinated at a MinuteClinic® location

We provide vaccinations at more than 900 MinuteClinic locations and can accept patients at least 18 months old.

The vaccine you need, all in one place®

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We offer 15+ vaccines, including:

  • Flu
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  • Pneumonia (pneumococcal)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Tdap

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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, which is the type that vaccines help prevent. 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 can cause meningitis will develop viral meningitis. Those infected with meningococcal bacteria can spread their bacterial infection to others by sharing saliva (spit).

There are three types of meningococcal vaccines used in the United States:

  • Meningococcal conjugate or MenACWY vaccines
  • Serogroup B meningococcal or MenB vaccines
  • Pentavalent or MenABCWY vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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 (ages 13 through 15), the booster is given between ages 16 and 18. Teens who receive their first MenACWY vaccine dose at or after age 16 years do not need a booster dose.

The CDC recommends that certain adolescents and adults should receive a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine. If a MenACWY and MenB vaccine are to be given at the same visit, a MenABCWY vaccine may be given instead.

To learn more about the vaccines that are right for you, talk to your pharmacist, health care provider or visit the CDC website at

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the three meningitis (meningococcal) vaccines listed above work well, but aren’t able to prevent all cases of meningitis. When undergoing their testing for licensure, MenACWY, MenB and MenABCWY vaccines produced an immune response that suggests the vaccines do provide protection, but there are limited data about how much protection they provide. This is in part due to the uncommon nature of meningococcal disease, as more people would need to get these vaccines to more accurately measure their effectiveness. You can learn more about the effectiveness of these vaccines at

If you have ever had a serious allergic reaction after a previous dose of MenACWY, MenB or MenABCWY vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you do not get subsequent doses of that type of vaccine. Similarly, if you know that you have a severe allergy to any ingredients found within any of these vaccines, you should not get a meningococcal vaccine. If you currently have a moderate or severe illness, the CDC also recommends that you first recover before getting a meningitis vaccine.

For more information on additional warnings and precautions, visit:

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 uncommon, serious reactions are possible. To learn about possible side effects, visit

  • *FOR MENINGOCOCCAL VACCINATIONS FOR ALL PRETEENS AND TEENS: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal vaccination: what everyone should know. November 20, 2023. Accessed March 1, 2024.

  • *FOR BACTERIAL MENINGITIS CAN CAUSE SERIOUS COMPLICATIONS: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bacterial Meningitis. July 15, 2021. Accessed March 26, 2024.

  • *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.