Men C vaccination

The meningococcal C conjugate (MenC) vaccine protects against infection by meningococcal group C bacteria, which can cause meningitis and septicaemia.

The MenC vaccine does not protect against meningitis caused by other meningococcal bacteria, other bacteria or by viruses. For example meningococcal group B disease is common in Ireland, so it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis.

Who should have it

MenC vaccine is now given to babies at 4 and 13 months as part of the routine childhood vaccines. For babies born before 1st July 2015, MenC vaccine was given at 4, 6 and 13 months, but we now know that two doses give as much protection as three doses.

Another dose of MenC vaccine is given to students in 1st year of second level school to give them protection from the disease as adolescents and young adults.

About the MenC vaccine

The MenC vaccine is made using part of the coat of the bacteria. You cannot get meningitis from the vaccine.

The vaccine has been specifically made to produce high levels of antibodies to protect children against the disease.  

How effective is it?

This vaccine has had a major impact on the levels of MenC disease. Within 5 years of the introduction of the vaccine in Ireland the number of deaths had dropped from 17 to 10.

The MenC vaccine has been well accepted, with very high uptake levels.

For further information go to www.immunisation.ie

 

Babies

The Men C vaccine is offered to babies at four and 13 months of age.

The vaccine is injected into the thigh.

Children

Another dose of MenC vaccine is given to students in 1st year of second level school to give them protection from the disease as adolescents and young adults.

The vaccine is injected into the upper arm.

Anyone under 23 years who has not been vaccinated should receive one dose of MenC vaccine

Who should not have it

There are very few children who should not get MenC vaccine. You or your child should not get the vaccine if they had a very severe reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous MenC vaccine or to one of its constituents. You should delay getting the MenC vaccine if your child is ill with a high fever.

Other vaccines

The MenC vaccine can be safely given with other childhood vaccinations, including the six in one and the Hib vaccines. However, each vaccine should be injected in a different part of the body.

There may be discomfort, redness or swelling where the injection was given

Some children may develop a fever

Some babies will become irritable or may have a tummy upset or vomit.

If you are concerned that your child has had a reaction to the MenC vaccine, talk to your doctor or nurse.

Content provided by NHS Choices www.nhs.uk and adapted for Ireland by the Health A-Z.

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