When your child is in 1st year of second level school, they will be offered a meningococcal C booster vaccination.
The MenC (meningitis) booster vaccine protects your child against meningococcal C disease until early adulthood.
Meningococcal disease is a serious illness which can cause meningitis (inflammation of the lining around the brain), septicaemia (blood poisoning) and lead to death.
The onset of meningococcal disease can be very quick. The symptoms include fever, stiff neck, headache, joint pains, and a rash.
Meningococcal disease may occur at any age but the highest rate of disease occurs in children under 5 years of age, especially children under one year of age. The next highest risk group are young people aged 15-19 years.
Your child should have received MenC vaccines protecting them from this disease at 2, 4 and 6 months of age (which was the schedule up to June 2008. Visit https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/whoweare/vacchistory.html for additional information).
Immunity to meningococcal disease reduces over time so a booster dose is recommended for children in First year of second level school and age equivalent in special schools and homeschooled to provide additional protection.
This vaccine is given by a HSE doctor or nurse to students during the second or third term in First year of second level school in the school.
The HSE will inform you of the date of the immunisations.
If a student misses that immunisation in school, the HSE will arrange for the student to be vaccinated at a HSE clinic.
In Ireland, all the recommended childhood vaccines listed in the schools immunisation programme are free.
The following information materials are available for parents of children in First Year of second level schools.
Post Vaccination Advice
The vaccine used in the school programme is called Menjugate. It is manufactured by GSK. The licensed documents for each vaccines, the Summary of Product Characteristcs and the Patient Information Leaflet are available here
We have compared the possible complications of developing Meningococcal C with the possible side effects of getting the MenC vaccine.
||Effects of Disease
||Side Effects of the Vaccine
|Meningococcal C (MenC) - contagious bacteria that spread by saliva or close contact with an infected person or carrier and causes meningitis or septicaemia, or both. (The MenC vaccine does not protect against other types of meningitis including that due to meningococcal B disease).
If 1000 people get MenC disease:
- 50 will die
- 100 people will recover from meningococcal disease will have a major disability such as deafness, brain damage or loss of fingers, toes, hands, feet, arms or legs.
If 1000 children are immunised:
- 50 will get discomfort, redness and swelling where the injection was given or will have a fever
- 500 children will become irritable
- 10 may get a tummy upset or vomit.
For further information please visit the following webpage - MenC
If you have any other queries please contact the schools immunisation programme office in your area. The contact phone numbers are available here in English and Irish.
This page was updated on 28 January 2019