Meningococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine, Diphtheria (Intramuscular)

Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine, diphtheria conjugate is an active immunization used to prevent infection of certain groups of meningococcal bacteria.


Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine, diphtheria conjugate treats bacterial infection. It works by exposing you to a small dose of the bacteria or protein from the bacteria, helping to develop immunity to the disease. The vaccine is used for the most common types of meningococcal bacteria serogroups (species of bacteria) A, C, W and Y. The medicine has been approved for patients as young as nine months to 55 years of age. The vaccine does not protect against infection caused by meningococcal bacteria belonging to group B.

The condition can be fatal or cause serious complications with disabilities of deafness, brain damage or neurological problems.

  • The vaccine is a preventative; it will not treat an existing meningococcal infection.

The bacterium spreads through droplets of saliva thrown into the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It's also transmittable by making contact with objects touched by an infected person, such as a doorknob, sharing a glass or utensil or kissing.

Individuals with a high risk of getting the disease should get the vaccine. Risks increase if any of these conditions apply to you.

  • Living in an affected community' dormitory or group housing
  • Working in an exposed environment' military, medical facility or laboratory
  • Visiting an epidemic area -local or aboard
  • Low immune systems' HIV, spleen or immune deficiency conditions

Conditions Treated

  • Meningococcal bacterial infection

Type Of Medicine

  • Immunizing agent

Side Effects

Medicines are prescribed to help improve health conditions. The effects of this medicine range from mild to severe, depending on the individual's health status. Introducing a new medicine can cause the side effects that fade as the body adjusts to the medicine.

Sometimes a family history or our own sensitivities to certain medicines cause the side effects. It helps to share as much information about your family's medical history, current health ailments and daily routines with the doctor.

The vaccine is administered to adults, adolescents, young children and infants. The following lists include effects most common, most common in toddlers and infants, least common and rare consequences known to occur. It doesn't mean you will experience all of them, but if you do and they worsen or persist beyond a week, tell your doctor. Sometimes the side effects occur two to four weeks after receiving treatment. Other effects not listed may occur.

Most Common

  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Itching
  • Pain

It's important to talk with the doctor and keep your scheduled visits. Sometimes patients have allergic reactions to this vaccine. If you or your child experiences a sudden reaction, contact the doctor.

Most Common in Babies and Toddlers

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Fast breathing
  • Fussiness
  • Shivering
  • Stiff jerky movements

Not all side effects require medical attention, but for your own safety, talk with the doctor if you are uncomfortable. This vaccine will cause an effect, and in most circumstances, the benefits outweigh the risks.

It's rare, but it happens, depending on your health condition, some patients have experienced fainting after receiving the injection. The doctor may have you wait for 15 minutes after the injection for observation.

Least Common

If you have recently undergone surgery, or experienced head trauma' tell the doctor. Because the meningococcal bacteria travels quickly throughout the body, a weak immune system or a recent infection could make you more susceptible to this disease.


  • Blurred vision
  • Burning, tingling feeling
  • Confusion
  • Hives
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Swelling of the face

Health Precautions

If you have received a vaccination or a flu shot, tell the doctor. If you've been treated with therapies for cancer, radiation or steroids' let the doctor know. These treatments could have serious reactions and prevent this vaccine from working.


A medical professional administers the vaccine injection (shot) into the upper arms or thigh muscles. The dose for a single vaccine and the booster depends on the heath and age of the patient. Parents need to read the medical guide on the vaccine. If you have questions, ask the doctor.

A single shot is given to a healthy adult. Adolescents, children over two years of age and individuals at high risk of meningococcal infections may be prescribed booster shots. Medical organizations recommend teenagers at 11 and 12 years of age should receive a single dose of this vaccine. A booster shot may be needed at 16 years of age for continued protection against the meningococcal bacteria. The vaccine works best, when the scheduled vaccinations are taken as instructed.

Primary Vaccination' Intramuscular (IM) injection

Adult up to 55 years of age

  • 0.5 milliliter (mL) by IM injection' once


  • Children seven years of age and older' 0.5 mL IM injection
  • Children two to six years of age at high risk of contracting the disease'¬†two dose series 0.5 mL first dose, second dose two months from first dose
  • Infants nine to 23 months of age' 0.5 mL per dose for a two dose series' second dose 12 months after the first dose or at least three months after the first dose
  • Infants two months and younger than seven months' 0.5 mL for a total of 4 dose series at two, four, six and 12 months of age. Doctor will decide.
  • Infants younger than two months'¬†doctor will decide


A booster dose may be given to patients 15 through 55 years of age for continued risk of this disease, every 5 years.

  • Doctor will decide the need for a booster.

Missed Dose

If you or your child misses the scheduled injection, contact the doctor and reschedule. The vaccine should be given as soon as possible. If you are planning to travel or you have the potential of exposure to the disease, the vaccine should be taken at least eight weeks before either of these events.


Most medicines work together and in most situations, the doctor will adjust the dose or the frequency to manage or prevent the drugs from interacting with each other. There are instances of interactions with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, certain foods, health supplements and herbal remedies. Alcohol and tobacco are known to interact with the drugs, diminishing the medicine's effect. If you are taking other medicines or OTC medications, tell the doctor.

Drug Interactions

Drug classifications are guidelines for medical professionals and consumers. Before starting any form of medical treatments, you should have a discussion with the doctor. You need to understand the risks and benefits associated to your health.

  • Major' risks outweigh the benefits
  • Moderate' use under special circumstances
  • Minor' minimal risk, monitoring plan recommended

There are over 180 drugs known to interact with this vaccine.

  • 184 trigger moderate interactions
  • Three instigate minor interactions

Medicine Interactions

Before taking this vaccine, let the doctor know if you have received any of these vaccines. When these drugs are combined with the vaccine, the medicine may fail to prevent the infection.

Tell the doctor if you are any of these drugs or treatments - they can weaken the immune system. You may not be a candidate for receiving this vaccine or the doctor may recommend that you complete the treatments first.

  • Steroids' nasal, oral, inhaled or injected
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation

Health Interactions


Blood Disorders - Patients with thrombocytopenia (low platelets) or coagulation (bleeding) disorder may suffer bleeding or hematomas (blood clots). If your platelet count is less than 50,000/mm3' you are at risk.


  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome' immune system attacks the nerves
  • Immunodeficiency' immune systems inability to protect against infection

Adverse Reactions

  • Infants and toddler nine to 12 months of age experience injection site tenderness. Parents can expect irritability, abnormal crying, loss of appetite, vomiting and fever.
  • Less than 10 percent of patients two to 55 years of age receiving a single dose experienced injection site pain and swelling.
  • Patients two to 10 years of age experienced irritability and drowsiness.
  • Patients 11 to 55 years of age experienced headaches, fatigue and arthralgia (joint pain).


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have posted warnings on this vaccine. Here, the posting have recognized interactions and unwanted heath disorders associated with the vaccine. Before starting treatment, be aware that your own health may contribute to the effects.

Taking this vaccine may increase the risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome. Talk to the doctor and learn how to recognize the early symptoms of this disorder. If you experience a sudden weakness or inability to move your arms and legs, contact the doctor immediately. If you have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome, this vaccine may not work for you.

Safety and effectiveness have not been established in three population segments.

  • Children younger than nine months of age
  • Adults older than 55 years of age
  • Pregnant women and nursing mothers


If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, talk with the doctor first. There are issues linked to this vaccine.

  • Whether this vaccine affects an unborn child is not clear.
  • If you have a history of premature births' talk with the doctor to determine if you should receive this vaccine.

You can help the medical profession by sharing information on the effects of this vaccine by registering on a pregnancy registry. This list will track the outcome of the pregnancy, evaluating the effects to the mother and infant.


Some studies have shown minimal risks to the nursing infant. The chemical measurements of this vaccine in breast milk or the effects to a nursing infant are unknown. If you were vaccinated and plan to nurse your baby, tell the doctor.


Safety and effectiveness for infants younger than nine months have not been established.


Studies on the effects of this vaccine have not be conducted in elderly adults older than 55 years of age. As a result, the safety and effectiveness of this medicine for this group population have not been established.


Health care staff or professional care providers are responsible for storing this medicine (for intramuscular injections). It should be stored at temperatures between 35 to 46 Fahrenheit.

  • DO NOT freeze this vaccine' if freezing occurs, dispose of it.
  • Used medical supplies and unused portions should be disposed of according to health care guidelines.


Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine, diphtheria conjugate has been effective in generating an immune response demonstrating its protective value. Because this disease occurs less today, there are fewer individuals receiving this vaccine, making it difficult to weigh the long-term effectiveness for the targeted population groups. Even with this fact, the disease does still exist and the younger populations are more susceptible to infection requires some discussion with a medical professional to understand the benefits and the risks of receiving this vaccine.