neisseria meningitidis

Meningococcal Disease

Adolescent Vaccination Recommendation:
Meningococcal vaccination is recommended for all adolescents at 11-12 years of age, with a booster dose at age 16. For those who receive the first dose at 13-15 years of age, a booster is recommended at age 16 through 18. Adolescents should receive one meningococcal vaccine dose less than five years before starting college.

About meningococcal disease

Meningococcal disease is a rare, but dangerous bacterial infection that causes meningitis and blood poisoning. The number of meningococcal disease cases changes from year to year. There are approximately 1,000 cases of meningococcal disease in the US each year.

Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but adolescents are at increased risk. Meningococcal infection can spread quickly, killing an otherwise healthy person in 48 hours. Even with rapid, appropriate treatment, approximately 10-14 percent of people who become infected will die and 15 percent of survivors will suffer complications including brain damage, hearing loss, and amputations.

People who get meningococcal disease usually have meningitis or blood infection. Meningitis, which is more common, causes high fever, headache, and stiff neck. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and mental status changes. Because the early symptoms are similar to less severe illnesses it is often misdiagnosed.

Blood infection, also called bacteremia or sepsis, is less common but more deadly. It may begin with sudden onset of fever, accompanied by fatigue, aches, and headache, and about half of patients develop a prominent purplish rash, usually on the arms and legs.

The majority of cases among adolescents are vaccine preventable. The meningococcal vaccine is effective and safe in protecting against four of the five meningococcal types that are responsible for 70 percent of cases in adults and adolescents.


ACIP Updated Recommendations for the Prevention and Control of Meningococcal Disease

Addressing the Challenges of Serogroup B Meningococcal Disease Outbreaks on College Campuses (11/17/14 Webinar)

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

Immunizations for Children from Birth Through 6 Years Old

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Immunization schedules for infants and children in easy-to-read formats


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Meningitis Information: Emergency Guidelines for the Campus Community

Princeton University

Meningitis Resources for Healthcare Professionals

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Meningococcal Disease

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Meningococcal Disease and Meningococcal Vaccine Factsheet

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Meningococcal Disease Vaccine Q&A

Immunization Action Coalition

Meningococcal Vaccination

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Meningococcal Vaccination: Improving Rates in Adolescents

Discusses disparities, identifies barriers, and outlines strategies to increase meningococcal vaccination rates among all adolescents

Meningococcus Vaccine - Why Do College Students Need It?

A two-minute video from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center aimed at educating college students about the importance of getting a meningococcal vaccine. The video offers the perspective of a college student aiming to educate his peers.

NFID Meningococcal Video

This educational video highlights the dangers of meningococcal disease and importance of adolescent immunization. Designed primarily for in-practice use to educate physicians, office staff, and parents/patients about the changing epidemiology of meningococcal disease, it discusses why the disease is of public health importance, the value of the conjugate vaccine, and CDC immunization recommendations.

NFID Meningococcal Video with Spanish Subtitles

Preteen and Teen Vaccines

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Recommended Immunization Catch-Up Schedule

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Prevention and Control of Meningococcal Disease: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Recommended Immunization Schedule for Persons Age 0 through 18 Years

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Sample Letter to Parents

This template letter can be personalized and mailed to families to educate them about meningococcal disease prevention and encourage parents to make an immunization appointment for adolescent children.

Standing Orders for Administering Meningococcal Vaccine to Children & Teens

Under these standing orders, eligible nurses and other healthcare professionals (e.g., pharmacists), where allowed by state law, may vaccinate children and teens who meet any of the specified criteria.

Standing Orders and Meningococcal Vaccination Recommendations

Immunization Action Coalition (IAC): This document summarizes the CDC recommendations for the use of meningococcal vaccines and how to implement standing orders for administering meningococcal vaccine to children and teens.


Pennsylvania adolescent immunization campaign promoting teen vaccines