Meningococcal vaccines help protect against the meningococcal disease. Meningococcal can cause inflammation of the lining of the brain (meningitis) and/or septicaemia (a form of
- Meningococcal C vaccine - only protects against one type of meningococcal infection, the C type.
- Meningococcal B vaccine - only protects against one type of meningococcal infection, the B type
- Meningococcal ACWY vaccine - protects against four type of meningococcal infection, the A, C, W and Y types.
The meningococcal ACWY vaccine (Nimenrix ®) is provided under the National Immunisation Program. Nimenrix ® is administered at 12 months of age and offered through the Schools Immunisation Program in Year 10. Adolescents aged 15 to 19 years of age, who have not already received the vaccine in school, will be able to receive the vaccine through an ongoing GP based catch-up program.
Meningococcal vaccines may also be recommended but not funded
From 1 October 2018 the State Government has provided free meningococcal B vaccines to children and young people as they are at increased risk of developing meningococcal B infection. See the Meningococcal B Immunisation Program for more information.
How the vaccine is given
The meningococcal vaccines are given as an injection into the thigh if under 12 months of age, or the top of the arm from 12 months of age.
Possible side effects
Like any medications, the meningococcal vaccines can have some minor and
Common effects may include:
- pain, redness and swelling where you were immunised
low gradefever of 37 to 38 degrees Celcius (fever may be higher following the meningococcal B vaccine)
- feeling unsettled or irritable
- a lower appetite than normal
Paracetamol is recommended before and following the administration of meningococcal B vaccine in children less than two years of age
Very rarely, a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine
Any unexpected event following immunisation should be reported to SA Health.
Reducing the side effects
Many of the common side effects can be reduced by:
- drinking extra fluids
- taking paracetamol as per the instructions on the packet/bottle
- not overdressing if you are already hot.
Where to get immunised
To receive the vaccine contact your doctor, local council, community health centre or Aboriginal health centre to arrange an appointment.
For further information on immunisation providers, see the Immunisation services page.