Is a Meningitis Immunization Recommended?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2018
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There are several vaccines that help prevent different forms of meningitis. Some directly prevent its contraction and others protect against diseases that may include meningitis as a complication. The list of protective vaccines is surprisingly long, and some aren't recognized as a prophylactic against meningitis. The vaccines mentioned here are all recommended, unless people have health issues that might cause complications.

The first meningitis immunization shots administered tend to be given in early childhood. They include the haemophilus influenzae B (HiB) shot, which is usually given four times during the first and second year of life. It protects children from getting this deadly bacteria that can cause conditions like pneumonia or meningitis. The shot was developed, in part, due to HiB’s potential to develop meningitis. In children under 5 who are unprotected, HiB is the most common cause of meningococcal illness.

Another bacteria that causes meningitis, especially in younger children, is streptococcus pneumoniae. The vaccination called PCV13 is a useful preventative. Like the HiB vaccine, PCV13 is given four times during the first few years of life, and the two shots may be administered because they follow the same schedule. Both of these meningitis immunization shots help to provide foundational protection against some forms of the condition.


What is sometimes considered the true meningitis immunization protects against several bacterial strains that most commonly create this disease. There are two separate shots that might be administered. Standard recommendation is that 11 or 12-year-olds receive a shot of Menactra®, which immunizes the body against these bacteria. It’s also suggested that younger children who are medically vulnerable should receive Menomune®, which can be given as early as the age of two. Some people might receive both shots, but there is less evidence than Menomune® is necessary in kids who are healthy, since meningitis related to these bacterial types isn’t common in younger children.

Some additional vaccinations are, in part, meningitis immunization. The chickenpox or varicella-zoster vaccine can prevent meningococcal illness that may be a complication of chickenpox. Immunizations for measles provide protection too, since a complication of measles can be meningococcal infection.

What is evident is that this illness occurs in a variety of ways, and may be of bacterial or viral origin. The numerous causes mean numerous meningitis immunization options exist. Most of these are recommended as standard vaccination protocol during childhood years, and people may also be advised to get immunizations if they travel to countries where there is increased risk of contracting the illness in any of its forms.



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