Meningococcal disease Vaccine

Meningococcal disease is a very serious infection that can cause meningitis, the infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord and infections of the blood. It can cause severe disability such as scarring, loss of limbs, brain damage and even death.

Meningococcal disease is a medical emergency. It can develop quickly and be fatal within hours and therefore, early diagnosis and treatment is essential.

Some people carry the bacteria in their nose and throat without developing illness or showing any symptoms and can spread it to others. It can spread from person to person through close, prolonged or intimate contact.

Although anyone can get meningococcal disease, certain people are at increased risk, including:

  • Infants, children, adolescents and young adults
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Travellers and young adults who live in close quarters or who are current smokers.
  • People with certain medical conditions that affect the immune system
  • Microbiologists who routinely work with isolates of N. meningitidis
  • People at risk because of an outbreak in their community

Vaccination is recommended for high risk groups.

Meningococcal disease is most commonly caused by types A, B, C, W and Y. There are different vaccines that protect against different types.

Pharmacists in NSW can adminster the meningococcal vaccine for people aged 5 years and over, depending the type of vaccine.Speak to our pharmacist if you are eligible for a free vaccine as part of the National Immunisation Program Schedule.
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