What's the recommended meningococcal vaccine schedule?
The meningococcal vaccine is given as one shot between ages 11 and 12. It may also be recommended for younger children in high-risk groups, including those who have damaged spleens or who may have been exposed to a meningitis outbreak. The vaccine is also recommended for other high-risk groups, like college students living in dorms who have not been previously vaccinated, or to anyone of any age exposed to meningitis during an outbreak.
Although babies are highly susceptible to meningococcal infection, the current vaccines are not recommended for children under 2. However, a vaccine that targets infants is being tested and may be available within a couple of years.
The meningococcal vaccine is safe to be given along with other vaccines. It's available in two forms: The newer one, MCV4, is preferred to MPSV4, which has been available since the 1970s. Experts believe the more recent version provides better, longer-lasting protection against meningococcal disease.