Meningitis Vaccines

*The Illinois Department of Public Health has made available a meningococcal disease brochure for college students and their parents.

McKinley Health Center is recommending students and parents seek the advice of their physicians regarding vaccination with the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine prior to entering college. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2016, updated recommendations for the use of serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccine. Both available Meningitis B vaccines can be administered in a 2-dose series. But the timing between the first and second dose is different and the two vaccines are not interchangeable.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) currently recommends routine use of MenB vaccines among persons aged ≥10 years who are at increased risk for serogroup B meningococcal disease (Category A recommendation), including persons who have persistent complement compo­nent deficiencies; persons who have anatomic or functional asplenia; microbiologists who routinely are exposed to isolates of Neisseria meningitidis; and persons identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak. Adolescents and young adults aged 16–23 years may also be vaccinated with MenB vaccines to provide short-term protection against most strains of serogroup B meningococcal disease (Category B recommendation). Consistent with the original Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensure for the MenB vaccines, ACIP recommended either a 3-dose series of MenB-FHbp or a 2-dose series of MenB-4C. Either MenB vaccine can be used when indicated; however, the two vaccines are not inter­changeable, and the same product must be used for all doses.

Two types of vaccines are available in the United States that can help prevent meningococcal disease, which is any type of illness caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria.

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccines (Menquadfi, Menactra and Menveo), for Serogroup ACWY – Required
  • Serogroup B meningococcal vaccines (Bexsero and Trumenba) – Now Recommended


All 11 to 12 year olds should be vaccinated with a meningococcal conjugate vaccine. A booster dose is required after age 16 years (before age 22) for those entering the University. The conjugate vaccine covers 4 serotypes of the Neisseria meningitis bacteria. (Serotypes A, C, W, Y).  Studies show the conjugate vaccine, first available in 2005 -- protection wanes after 5 years and a booster at age 16 is recommended. 

Teens and young adults (16 through 23 year olds) also may be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine.  This vaccine became available in the United States in late 2014.  When bacterial meningitis outbreaks occur, it is most likely to be serogroup B because of the effectiveness of the conjugate vaccines.  The long-term effectiveness of the serogroup B vaccine is still pending long-term studies, but ACIP advises immunogenicity is good for at least 24-48 months. 

About 10 to 15 out of 100 people infected with meningococcal disease will die. About 11 to 19 out of every 100 survivors will have long-term disabilities, such as loss of limb(s), deafness, nervous system problems, or brain damage. So bad outcomes occur in upwards of 30 percent of those who get sick.

People spread meningococcal bacteria to others by exchanging respiratory and throat secretions during close or lengthy contact, especially if living in the same household. Humans are the only host.

Two vaccines provide protection against serogroup B meningococcal disease: Bexsero® (GlaxoSmithKline) and Trumenba® (Pfizer). If not already vaccinated and in the setting of an outbreak, CDC recommends either two doses of Bexsero® or three doses of Trumenba®. It does not matter which brand someone receives. People should get the same vaccine brand for all doses — Bexsero® and Trumenba® are not interchangeable. If someone decides to switch brands, CDC recommends waiting at least 1 month between products and then getting the full series of the second vaccine.

Experts expect both vaccines to help protect against most serogroup B meningococcal strains circulating in the United States. However, neither vaccine will prevent all cases. Each vaccine may perform better against some strains than others, but actual effectiveness against specific strains remains unknown. Early data on serogroup B meningococcal vaccines suggest that protective antibodies also decrease fairly quickly after vaccination.

Trumenba and Bexsero are available off campus and can frequently be obtained at local retail pharmacies and physician offices and billed directly to the insurance carrier. 


Please review the CDC website for further information. and