Meningitis A,C,W,Y vaccine (Menveo)

How does it work?

Menveo is a meningitis vaccine that contains inactivated extracts of Neisseria meningitidis bacteria types A, C, W135 and Y, which are bacteria that cause meningitis. It is known as a quadrivalent vaccine. The vaccine works by provoking the body's immune response to these bacteria, without causing the disease.

When the body is exposed to foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses, the immune system produces antibodies against them. Antibodies help the body recognise and kill the foreign organisms. The antibodies remain in the body to help protect the body against future infections with the same organism. This is known as active immunity.

The immune system produces different antibodies for each foreign organism it encounters. This establishes a pool of antibodies that helps protect the body from various different diseases.

Vaccines contain extracts or inactivated forms of bacteria or viruses that cause disease. These altered forms of the organisms stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies against them, but don't actually cause disease themselves. The antibodies produced remain in the body so that if the organism is encountered naturally, the immune system can recognise it and attack it. This prevents it from causing disease.

Each bacteria or virus stimulates the immune system to produce a specific type of antibody, and this means that different vaccines are needed to prevent different diseases.

This meningococcal vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies against groups A, C, W135 and Y strains of meningococcal bacteria. It prevents meningitis caused by these types of bacteria.

What is it used for?

  • Preventing meningitis caused by groups A, C, W135 and Y meningococcal bacteria.

This vaccine is not given routinely. It is only given to people who are at high risk of contracting meningitis caused by these strains, such as people living in or travelling to high-risk areas, for example parts of Africa. You can see if you need this vaccine by looking at the travel section of this site.

Travellers to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages who are aged two years and over will need to produce a certificate of vaccination with a quadrivalent meningitis vaccine before they can be issued with a visa. The Menveo brand of meningitis A,C,W,Y vaccine is recommended for travellers by the Department of Health.

The Government of Saudi Arabia will only issue a visa for travellers to Hajj and Umrah if your vaccination certificate is less than three years old. This means that if the last time you had this vaccine was more than three years ago, you will need to have a booster dose to get a new vaccination certificate and a visa. You will need to have the vaccine at least 10 days before you travel.

The vaccine can also be given to close contacts of people who have contracted meningitis A,W or Y, and to groups of people in the area of a local outbreak, in order to prevent the spread of infection. The vaccine can be given to people who have previously been vaccinated with the single meningitis C vaccine, in order to provide protection against disease caused by the A, W135 and Y strains of meningococcal bacteria.

Warning!

  • This vaccine only provides protection against meningitis caused by groups A, C, W135 and Y meningococcal bacteria. It will not protect against other groups of meningococcal bacteria, or other organisms that cause meningitis or septicaemia (blood poisoning).
  • People whose immune system is underactive, for example due to a genetic defect, HIV infection, or treatment with medicines that suppress the immune system, such as chemotherapy, high doses of corticosteroids, or immunosuppressants (eg to prevent transplant rejection), may not produce an adequate immune response to this vaccine. For further advice talk to your doctor.

Not to be used in

  • Sudden feverish illness (the vaccine should be postponed until after recovery).

This vaccine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction after having this vaccine, inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Use with caution in

  • People who are allergic to latex (the tip cap of the syringe contains rubber).
  • People at risk of bleeding following an injection into the muscle, eg people with haemophilia or low levels of platelets in their blood (thrombocytopenia), or people taking anticoagulants such as warfarin.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Certain vaccines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other vaccines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before having any vaccine.

  • The safety of this vaccine when given during pregnancy has not been studied. However, as it contains inactivated bacteria it is not expected to be harmful to a developing baby. Any risk to the baby from having this vaccine is far lower than the risk to the baby if you contracted meningitis. Seek further medical advice from your doctor.
  • The effect of this vaccine on a breastfeeding child after the mother is given the vaccine has not been studied. However, since it contains inactivated bacteria it is unlikely to be harmful if given to women who are breastfeeding. Seek medical advice from your doctor.

Side effects

Vaccines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this vaccine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people having this vaccine will experience that or any side effect.

This vaccine contains no live bacteria and cannot cause meningitis.

Very common (affect more than 1 in 10 people)

  • Pain, redness, itching, swelling or hardening at the injection site.
  • Headache.
  • Feeling sick.
  • Feeling generally unwell.

Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people)

  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Rash.

Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people)

  • Dizziness.

The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the vaccine's manufacturer. For more information about any other possible risks associated with this vaccine, please read the information provided with the vaccine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How can this vaccine affect other medicines?

This vaccine is not known to affect other medicines.

However, people taking medicines that suppress the activity of the immune system, for example chemotherapy, high-dose corticosteroids, or immunosuppressants, eg used following an organ transplant, may not produce adequate numbers of antibodies in response to this vaccine. As a result, the vaccine may be less effective in these people. If you are taking any of these medicines you should discuss this with your doctor.

If other vaccines are being given at the same time as this one they should be administered into separate sites and preferably into separate limbs.

If you need to have this vaccine before travelling abroad and have recently had a meningitis C vaccine, you should not be given this vaccine until at least four weeks after your meningitis C vaccine.

Other meningitis A,C,W,Y vaccines

ACWY Vax