Immunizations (cont.)

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What is the meningococcal vaccine, and who should receive it?

Meningococcal disease is a serious acute illness caused by a bacterium. Patients can develop meningitis and sepsis, and these are often fatal diseases. There are two different quadrivalent meningococcal polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines that provide protection against meningococcal serogroups A, C, W, and Y: MenACWY-D (Menactra) and MenACWY-CRM (Menveo). The disease is more common in adolescents and college students. Therefore, meningococcal vaccine is recommended for all children between 11-12 years of age, with a booster dose at 16 years of age. If the child has not received the vaccine by 11-12 years of age, they should receive it up to age 18. College freshmen who have not received the vaccine should be vaccinated. The vaccine is also recommended for adults with special medical conditions.

What is the MMR vaccine, and who should receive it?

The MMR vaccine contains vaccines against the diseases measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles). These are all dangerous and potentially fatal diseases that have been successfully limited in the United States through aggressive vaccine programs. Adolescents and adults who have not received the MMR or MMRV (MMR, plus the varicella vaccine) should receive two doses of the vaccine at least one month apart. People who do not have medical documentation of having had the diseases or cannot prove previous vaccination should have titers (blood tests to check levels of immunity) drawn to make sure they are immune to these agents. If they do not have laboratory evidence of immunity, they should receive a two-dose series of vaccine.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/21/2014