Bookmark this page

View Printer Friendly PDF Printer Friendly PDF

Facts About...

Meningococcal Quadrivalent Conjugate Vaccine
(e.g., Menactra®)


What is it?

  • Meningococcal quadrivalent conjugate (Men-C-ACYW-135) vaccine protects against 4 types of bacteria (A, C, Y and W-135) that cause invasive meningococcal disease (IMD). IMD can cause swelling of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and/or a blood infection. IMD can lead to serious illness or in some cases death. For more information, see Facts About... Meningitis.
  • Menactra®, Menveo®, and Nimenrix® are Men-C-ACYW-135 vaccines that are approved for use in Canada.
  • Menactra® is currently offered at Durham Region Health Department clinics.
  • Men-C-ACYW-135 (e.g. Menactra®) is different from meningococcal C vaccines (e.g., Menjugate®) and meningococcal B vaccines (e.g., Bexsero®). Talk to your health care provider for more information.

Who Should Receive the vaccine?

Men-C-ACYW-135 vaccine is recommended and publicly funded (free) for people 9 months to 55 years of age, where the risk of IMD is ongoing, including:

  • Adolescents (routinely at 12 years of age) and young adults. Men-C-ACYW-135 vaccine is offered for FREE at school based vaccine clinics in grade 7.
  • People with a non-functional spleen (e.g., people with sickle cell disease or who may be having or who have had their spleen removed).
  • Close contacts of anyone who has IMD caused by any of the four strains A, C, Y, and W-135.
  • People who have complement, properdin or factor D or primary antibody deficiencies.
  • Cochlear implant recipients (pre/post).
  • People with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Other people recommended to receive Men-C-ACYW-135 vaccine include:

  • Travelers going to countries where the vaccine is recommended.
  • People who work in research, industrial and clinical labs who may be exposed to the bacteria.
  • Military personnel during recruit training and on certain deployments.
  • People who have previously received Menomune® vaccine and have ongoing risk of infection.

What is the schedule for the vaccine?

Men-C-ACYW-135 vaccine is offered for FREE to children in grade 7 through school-based and public health immunization clinics.

Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act, one dose of Men-C-ACYW-135 vaccine is required for children attending school in Ontario unless they have a valid exemption*. It is recommended that all grade 7 students receive a dose of Men-C-ACYW-135 even if previously vaccinated.

Are there side effects with the vaccine?

The most common reported side effects are:

  • Redness, pain and swelling where the needle was given
  • Headache
  • Fussiness in children
  • Fatigue

Side effects are usually mild and last only a short time. A cold, wet compress applied to the injection site and/or acetaminophen can be used to help relieve pain, swelling, and/or mild fever after vaccination.

Severe allergic reactions after vaccination are very rare and may not be related to the vaccine. However, if you think a serious reaction is developing, seek medical attention right away. Any unusual or significant changes in your health or your child’s health after the immunization should be reported to a health care provider and the Health Department.

Who should NOT get the vaccine?

  • People who have been given the Menomune® (meningococcal polysaccharide) vaccine within the past 24 weeks.
  • People who have received a meningococcal conjugate vaccine within the past 4 weeks.
  • If you have any medical conditions, discuss with a health care provider to determine if you should receive the vaccine.
  • People who are sick with a high fever or serious infection worse than a cold should wait until they feel better.
  • Anyone who has had an allergic or severe reaction to a previous dose of any vaccine (talk to your health care provider).
  • Any component in a vaccine may be a potential allergen. The most common allergens for Men-C-ACYW-135 vaccines are:
    • Menactra®: diphtheria toxoid protein
    • Menveo®: diphtheria CRM toxoid carrier protein
    • Nimenrix®: tetanus toxoid protein
  • For more information on contents of vaccine refer to the Canadian Immunization Guide, Evergreen Edition

Don’t forget to update your record of protection

After you or your child receives a vaccine, update your immunization record (yellow card). For children in school or child care, please call the Health Department to update your child’s immunization record. Keep immunization records in a safe place!

*Parents must contact the Health Department if you object to immunization based on conscious or religious beliefs, or if your child cannot be immunized for medical reasons

September 20, 2017