Vaccinations

Men C vaccine

The meningitis C vaccine - better known as Men C - protects against infection by meningococcal group C bacteria, which can cause two very serious illnesses,  meningitis and septicaemia.

The Men C vaccine does not protect against meningitis caused by meningococcal group B bacteria, so it's important for parents to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis

Who is affected by meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal disease can affect all age groups, but the rates of disease are highest in children under five years of age, with the peak in babies under one year of age. There's a second peak in cases in young people aged between 15 and 19. The disease tends to strike in winter.

Which children should have the meningitis C vaccine?

Children are routinely offered the Men C vaccine  as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme at:

  • 3 months
  • 12 months
  • 13-15 years (teenage booster)

Babies have their first Men C vaccination when they are three months old.

Babies then have a second dose of Men C at 12 months. This dose is combined with the Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) vaccine and is called the Hib/Men C booster.

Two doses of Men C vaccine are given to make sure your baby develops a good enough immune response to protect them against meningitis C in early childhood.

The Men C vaccine is also routinely available as a teenage booster to children aged 13-15 years. This Men C teenage booster can be given at the same time as the 3-in-1 teenage booster (against tetanus, diphtheria and polio) and will extend your child's protection against meningitis C into early adulthood.

Men C for university students

From late summer 2014, students under the age of 25 who are starting university will also be offered a catch-up booster of Men C vaccine. This student catch-up programme will continue for several years until all university entrants have received a Men C teenage booster.

This government leaflet explains more about Men C vaccination for university students.

Catch-up boosters of Men C for non-vaccinated children and adults

Anyone under the age of 25 who hasn't yet received Men C vaccination can have a single catch-up dose on the NHS. If you want a catch-up dose of Men C vaccine, arrange this with your GP.

Read more about when the Men C vaccine is needed and who should not have it.

About the Men C vaccine

The Men C vaccine is made using part of the surface of the bacteria, but you cannot get meningitis from the vaccine.

In the UK, your baby at 3 months of age will receive their first Men C vaccine called one of two brand names- either Neisvac C or Menjugate

The Hib/Men C booster given at 12 months has the brand name Menitorix.

While the teenage Men C booster and student catch-up booster can be one of three brands - Neisvac C, Meningitec or, less commonly, Menjugate.

How safe is the meningitis C vaccine?

The Men C vaccine has an excellent safety record. The most common reactions tend to be minor and very temporary. They include swelling, redness and pain around the injection site, fever, and vomiting.

Read more about the possible side effects of the Men C vaccine.

How effective is the meningitis C vaccine?

The Men C vaccine  works very well and has slashed the levels of Men C disease. In fact, since the Men C vaccine was introduced in 1999, there has been a 95% decrease in cases of disease caused by meningitis C.

Read the answers to parents' common questions about the Men C vaccine.

Meningitis real story

Tracey Chambers talks about the effects of meningitis on her daughter Courteney. Meningitis is an infection that can lead to serious damage to the nerves and brain. If you think your child has symptoms of meningitis, it is vital to seek immediate medical attention.

Media last reviewed: 02/10/2013

Next review due: 02/10/2015


Page last reviewed: 20/05/2014

Next review due: 20/05/2016

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