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Meningococcal disease vaccine

Overview of who should be vaccinated against meningococcal disease and which vaccines are available in Norway.

Overview of who should be vaccinated against meningococcal disease and which vaccines are available in Norway.

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Meningococcal disease is caused by the meningococcus bacterium. Most meningococci are surrounded by a polysaccharide capsule which is made up of various sugar compounds. Meningococci are divided into serogroups with a letter code, based on these sugar compounds. Most disease-causing meningococci belong to serogroups A, B, C, W, X or Y.

Vaccines against serogroups A, B, C, W and Y are available in Norway. Conjugate vaccines against meningococcal groups A, C, W and Y (Menveo or Nimenrix) protect against these four groups of meningococcal bacteria. Conjugate vaccines have been available for several years, and these meningococcal types have accounted for most cases of meningococcal disease in recent years. Vaccination against meningococcal A, C, W and Y consists of a single dose. A vaccine against meningococcal B (Bexsero or Trumenba) is also available. Both vaccine types are used if protection against all the five most common groups of bacteria (A, C, W, Y and B) is required.

Who should be vaccinated?

  • People without a functioning spleen 
  • People with severe complement deficiencies 
  • Close contacts of patients with meningococcal disease 
  • People with an occupational risk of infection (laboratory personnel) 
  • Travellers to areas with high incidence of meningococcal infection. Some countries require meningococcal ACWY vaccination before entry. Meningococcal ACWY vaccine is required for pilgrims to Saudi Arabia (Hajj, Umrah) and by some universities abroad. 
  • 16-19 year-olds should consider vaccination (individual evaluation). Participation in activities that involve close contact with other adolescents over several days, partying, high alcohol intake, sharing bottles and cigarettes, active or passive smoking and general lack of sleep can increase the risk of infection and severe disease. In Norway, this is most relevant for those who intend to participate in the traditional graduation celebrations in Norway (russ), but also for festivals, sporting events, youth camps, etc. The recommendations also apply to younger and older people who will take part in these activities.
  • Men who have sex with men and who have casual sex or intimate contact with many partners should consider vaccination.

Contact your healthcare provider if you are unsure whether this advice applies to you.