MCV4 is a new vaccine against meningococcal disease. The disease is caused by bacteria that can cause meningitis and death. More than 1,000 people contract meningococcal disease every year. More than 150 deaths are attributed to the disease every year despite antibiotic treatment.
Meningococcal disease can be a life-threatening disease. Despite vaccination recommendations, not all children and young adults are vaccinated against the disease. Meningococcal disease moves fast attacking organs, brain, and limbs within just hours of initial symptom presentation. With proper vaccination, the infection can be prevented.
MCV4 vaccinations are started between the ages of 11 and 18. There are required doses with the first dose at 11 or 12 and the second at 16. If the child does not receive the first dose until 13 to 15 years of age, the second dose can be given between 16 and 18. If the child is not vaccinated until 16 or older, only one dose is needed.
Risks of the Vaccination
Mild reactions to MCV4, including pain at the injection site and mild fever are common. More severe reactions, including allergic reactions, are rare. There have been some reports of fainting spells and seizure-like movements. These reports are extremely rare.
Signs Your Child Should Wait to Get Vaccinated
MCV4 is contraindicated in children with a history of severe allergic reactions. If your child has ever experienced a severe allergic reaction, tell your pediatrician or family doctor before MCV4 is administered. This includes severe reactions to ANY vaccine, food or medication. Pregnant women should not be vaccinated with MCV4 unless absolutely necessary. Testing on safety in pregnant women has not been completed on the new vaccine, MCV4. The older version of the vaccine, MPSV4, may be considered safer for use by pregnant women.
Can Older Children/Adults be Vaccinated?
Older children and young adults are vaccinated with MCV4. MCV4 is one of the few vaccines with a schedule that starts between 11 and 18 years of age. Adults who have not been vaccinated with MCV4 can be vaccinated. Two doses are required for protection.
What Should I Do If My Child Has a Reaction?
If your child experiences a reaction to MCV4, contact your physician. Mild reactions, like low-grade fever or injection site pain, are generally treatable at home. Moderate reactions may require a doctor’s visit. Severe reactions, which typically occur within a few minutes or hours of the injection, may require emergency medical attention.