young man sick in bed 

Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine

The meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) protects against the life-threatening meningococcal disease and is available at Boulder County Public Health immunization clinics for the following groups. (However, if you have private health insurance, please visit your primary care provider.) 

  • Pre-teens and adolescents
  • College freshmen
  • Travelers
  • For more information, please call 303-413-7500

Learn more about meningitis.

Up to 15 percent of those who develop meningitis can die from it, even if they are treated with antibiotics. Of those who live, another 11 to 19 percent may lose their arms or legs, become deaf, have nervous system problems, become mentally disabled, or suffer seizures or strokes.

Effects of the Disease

Meningococcal disease causes swelling of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The bacteria grow on the surfaces of the nose and throat and are passed to others through contact with droplets from the nose or throat of people who are ill. People who have no symptoms but who are carriers of the disease can also infect others.

Infection Rates

In the U.S., about 2,600 people get meningococcal disease each year. The highest rates are among children younger than two years old. Unfortunately, the disease is most often caused by serogroup B strain of the bacteria in young children, for which there is no vaccine available. Infection rates for children 11 through 19 years are also higher than that for the general population.

Protection & Side Effects

Among this group, most disease is caused by serogroups C, Y, or W-135, which are included in both the original and the new meningococcal vaccines. Both vaccines protect about 90% of those who get it. About half of people receiving either vaccine can have mild side effects – such as redness or pain where the shot was given – lasting one to two days. A small percentage of people receiving either vaccine can develop a fever.

The possibility that the vaccines could cause serious harm or death is extremely small. As is the case with all vaccines, the risk of a serious side effect from the vaccine is much, much lower than the risk of a serious side effect from the disease itself.


Immunization Program

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