Meningitis B Vaccine

There are many types of meningitis, an infection of the layers of tissue overlying the brain. Some of these can be prevented by vaccines. Illinois requires that children receive some of these. A newer vaccine helps prevent meningitis from serogroup B meningococcus. The version of the vaccine that we provide in our office is called "Bexsero". Two injections separated by at least one month are required in order to get maximum benefit.

The incidence of this type of meningitis is low, about 1 in 1 million in the United States among the age group that qualifies for the vaccine. Certain preteens and teens are at increased risk of infection so they should get a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine if they are at least 10 years old and:
--Have a rare type of immune disorder (complement component deficiency)
--Are taking the medicine called Soliris
--Have a damaged spleen or their spleen has been removed
--Are part of a population identified to be at increased risk because of a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak

Any teenager may receive this vaccine. The best time to do this is at 16-18 years of age.

How effective is the vaccine? Between 6 and 9 people out of every 10 vaccinated wiuth "Bexsero" had a protective immune response one month after completing the series. The illness is so uncommon that it is difficult to know yet exactly how effectively the vaccine prevents disease. Early data on serogroup B meningococcal vaccines suggest that protective antibodies decrease fairly quickly after vaccination.

Much of the information presented here comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can find more details about the serogroup B meningitis vaccine (and others) at their meningitis vaccination website.