Meningococcal Vaccine, Diphtheria Conjugate (Intramuscular)

If you are at risk of the meningococcal infection or have a higher chance of developing a severe health problem as a result of it then it may be advised you get the Meningococcal Diphtheria Conjugate Vaccine.

Overview

The Meningococcal Diphtheria Conjugate Vaccine is used to help protect patients against infections from certain types of meningococcal bacteria. It is an active immunizing agent, and a live vaccine, meaning it causes your body to create its own form of protection against the disease by creating antibodies.

The information that follows is regarding only the meningococcal vaccine that is used for meningococcal bacteria from Groups W-135, Y, C, and A. Inside of the U.S, these groups are responsible for almost all cases of meningococcal meningitis. However, you should be aware that this vaccine does not protect patients against infections that are caused by different meningococcal bacteria groups, for example, Group B.

It is important that you get suitable protection against meningococcal infection as it can be life-threatening. For example, meningococcemia affects the patient's blood and meningococcal meningitis affects the patient's brain. It is possible that you will die if you contract either meningococcemia or meningococcal meningitis. The chances of getting either one of the mentioned diseases becomes higher in early adulthood or once you peak in adolescence. You are more likely to suffer from one of them if you have certain other diseases or conditions that cause you to be more sensitive to contracting the meningococcal infection. Or you could be more likely to develop a very serious problem as a result of the meningococcal infection.

If you are aged between 9 months and 55 years old, then it is recommended that you get this immunization if you are at risk of contracting this disease. Such increased risks include the following reasons:

  • You have certain other conditions or diseases that make you more sensitive to contracting the meningococcal infection. Or you are more likely to develop a severe problem as a result of the infection.

Be aware that you will be given this medicine as an injection from a doctor or trained health professional. You will receive it after your doctor has decided that it's safe and sensible for you to receive it. To decide this, they may need to ask you a number of questions in order to fully understand the condition of your health.

Condition(s) treated

  • Meningococcal infection

Type of medicine

  • Suspension

Side effects

As well as having its intended effects, it is possible that the Meningococcal Diphtheria Conjugate Vaccine will cause some patients to having unwanted side effects as well. The seriousness and number of the side effects experienced can vary greatly from patient to patients. Below is a list of the more severe side effects that are possible. If you experience any of these after receiving this vaccine, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Rare

  • Itching

Incidence not known

  • Sudden weakness and numbness in the arms and legs

You may instead experience some side effects that are much less severe. Below is a list of these. You may find that they pass over time as your body adjusts to the medicine, and as such do not necessarily require medical assistance. However, if you do experience any of these effects and find them lingering or worrying, then you can still contact your doctor for advice. They may be able to advise on ways to reduce the effects you are feeling.

More common

Less common

  • Vomiting

You may experience other side effects that have not been listed here. If this happens, then you can contact your doctor for advice.

Dosage

You will receive this vaccine via a shot into one of your muscles. It is given by a trained nurse, doctor, or other medical professional.

It is usually given via just one injection. In some cases, it may be necessary to receive a booster dose, but your doctor can advise you if this is the case.

Before receiving this vaccine, or your child being given it, you will be supplied with a vaccine information statement. You should read this carefully beforehand and then address any questions you have to your doctor.

Interactions

It is possible that this vaccine will interact with other drugs you are currently taking. For this reason, it is important that you advise your doctor of all the drugs you are currently taking. This includes both prescription and nonprescription medication. In some cases, an interaction will be quite severe and must be avoided. In other cases, an interaction is necessary as taking two interacting drugs is the best course of treatment for your health. Either way, your doctor is best placed to decide what is most suitable for you. Below is a list of drugs with which it is usually recommended you do not take at the same time as the MV.

As well as interacting with drugs, it is possible that an interaction will occur between this vaccine and certain parts of your dietary intake. Your doctor may, therefore, advise you to make changes to how much or how frequently you smoke, drink, or eat certain things, for example, it might be best for you to smoke less tobacco or drink less alcohol.

Finally, other medical problems that you currently suffer from may interact with this medicine. You should inform your doctor of all medical condition you have and point out any of the following if applicable:

  • Immunodeficiency disorder

Warnings

Before your doctor is able to give this vaccine to either you or your child, they will first need to ensure that it is indeed safe and sensible to do so. To decide this, they will need to fully understand the extent of your medical condition. This will mean undergoing a full medical assessment. As part of this, you will need to inform them of any allergies you suffer from. This includes allergies to animals, foods, dyes, and preservatives.

As of writing, on safety and efficacy have been established for the use of Meningococcal Diphtheria Conjugate Vaccine in children aged below 9 months old. This is because a lack of suitable studies have taken place into how age affects this drug.

Similarly, no efficacy and safety have been established for using this vaccine in patients aged above 55. This is because of the lack of suitable age-related studies into the effects this drug has.

To check for unwanted effects and ensure this vaccine is working properly, you will need to have regular appointments with the administering doctor. You should attend all scheduled meetings and reschedule as soon as possible if you miss them for any reason.

Be aware that this topper used in the vial of this vaccine contains dry natural latex rubber. If you or your child has ever had a reaction to latex rubber, be sure to inform your doctor before administering the vaccine.

If you display any of the following symptoms after receiving this vaccine, contact your doctor immediately. They could be signs that you are having an allergic reaction to the vaccine.

If you or your child experiences sudden weakness and are unable to move your legs or arms, then you should contact your doctor immediately. These could be indications of a very serious condition known as Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).

If you or your child are currently receiving a procedure or medicine that weakens your immune system, then tell your doctor straight away. This could mean taking things like radiation treatment, steroids, or cancer medicine.

You should tell your doctor first about all other vaccines you or your child has had. This includes the flu shot.

If you become pregnant after receiving this vaccine, inform your doctor. They may need you to join a registry for patients that have received this vaccine.

Be aware that the Meningococcal Diphtheria Conjugate Vaccine does not prevent diphtheria. Also, it will not treat the symptoms of meningococcal infection if you have already contracted it.

Storage

You will not be required to store this medicine at any point.

Summary

If you are aged between 9 months and 55 years old, then receiving this vaccine could be very important for your health. It can help protect you against very harmful diseases and illnesses if you are at risk of contracting the severe meningococcal infection. Be aware though that this vaccine is not suitable for everybody. It has the potential to interact with a range of drugs and other health conditions. For this reason, it is only given once your doctor has had the chance to assess your health condition.

After you have received it, you should look out for any of the harmful side effects that have been listed above. If you do experience them, then you should contact your doctor for advice on how to proceed. You should also be careful in following any other guidance your doctor offers you on what to do after receiving the Meningococcal Diphtheria Conjugate Vaccine. If you have any other questions about the use of this vaccine in either you or your child, then you should address these questions to your doctor.