What is the meningococcal (meningitis) vaccine?
The meningococcal vaccine protects against bacteria that cause meningococcal disease.
Vaccines can provide protection against a single disease, or can be made to provide protection against more than one disease. Vaccines that provide protection against more than one disease are called combined vaccines. Meningococcal vaccine is only available as a single vaccine format.
Vaccines commonly used:
Who should get the meningococcal vaccine?
In general, everyone should get this vaccine. It is given starting in infancy and again in early childhood. It is important to receive the vaccine at the right time. To find out more about when infants and children should get the measles vaccine, see the Ontario Immunization Schedule (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care).
Who should not get the meningococcal vaccine?
- People who have had serious allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine or to a previous dose of the vaccine itself should not receive the meningococcal vaccine.
Your health care provider will ask you questions about your health before giving you any vaccine. This will help them identify allergies you might have and safely manage potential allergic reactions.
What are the possible side effects of the meningococcal vaccine?
You could have mild side effects after being vaccinated, but they usually go away in one to two days. Some people can be allergic to the vaccine, just like they might have a food or medication allergy.
Learn more about common vaccine side effects and what to do about them.
Is the meningococcal vaccine required to attend school, daycare or to work in certain settings?
Yes. In Ontario, this vaccine is required by all children to attend school and licensed daycare. Learn more about the vaccinations that are required.
You might also need to get this vaccine to work in certain workplaces such as in health care, child care and other settings.
Children attending school or daycare
- Parents and guardians must also report the vaccinations to Public Health to keep their records up-to-date.
- Exemptions: signed statements must be submitted for vaccination exemptions based on medical reasons or reasons of conscience or religious belief.
- Access and update your immunization records.
What else should you know about the meningococcal vaccine?
This vaccine is publicly funded, meaning it is free of charge for those who need it. No matter where you get the vaccine in Ontario, there is no cost (in a hospital, walk-in clinic, health care provider’s office or public health unit).
For a list of publicly funded vaccines in Ontario, see the Ontario Immunization Schedule.
Risks and benefits
Talk to your health care provider about getting vaccinated if you have special health conditions or concerns. Learn more about special considerations before being vaccinated.
Where can you get the meningococcal vaccine?
For more information:
- Contact us.
- See our frequently asked questions or send us your question.
- See our list of helpful websites for information about vaccination.