CDC Recommendations on Vaccination
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following for adolescents:
- An initial vaccination at age 11-12
- A booster dose at age 16
- For those who receive the first dose at 13 through 15 years of age, a booster is recommended at 16 through 18
CDC suggests that adolescents receive the vaccine less than five years before starting college.
There are others recommended for meningococcal vaccination, including younger children and adults with certain medical conditions, travelers and military recruits. For the full list of persons recommended by the CDC for meningococcal vaccination, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/mening/who-vaccinate.htm.
About the Vaccines
Vaccination offers the best protection against the disease. Meningococcal vaccines are available in the U.S. for people six weeks of age and older.
Vaccination protects against four of the five strains of the bacteria (Neisseria meningitidis) that cause meningococcal disease in the U.S. These are A, C, Y and W-135. No vaccine is currently available in the U.S. to protect against the B strain, although scientists and pharmaceutical manufacturers are conducting studies of vaccines against the B serogroup.
As with all vaccines, there can be minor reactions, including pain and redness at the injection site or a mild fever, which typically last for one to two days.
To find out if meningococcal vaccination is right for your family, please contact your health care provider.
Need for a Booster Dose
In 2011, health officials added a meningococcal booster dose because protection wears off over time. This booster helps ensure kids remain protected through their most vulnerable years.