Healthy living

Meningococcal vaccine

  • Meningococcal is a rare but life threatening disease.
  • Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect from meningococcal disease.
  • The meningococcal ACWY vaccine will help protect against meningococcal types A, C, W and Y.
  • The meningococcal B vaccine will help protect against meningococcal type B.

Several vaccines against meningococcal disease are available in WA. In WA, certain at-risk groups can get the menACWY and menB vaccines for free. Consult your immunisation provider about what is recommended for you.

The menACWY vaccine does not offer protection against meningococcal B disease. No single vaccine protects against all strains (serogroups) so it is important to remember how to recognise the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease.

What meningococcal immunisation programs are available?

Infants and children

Meningococcal ACWY

Meningoccal B

  • Free for Aboriginal infants and/or infants with certain medical risk conditions – see Childhood immunisation schedule
  • Available privately – consult your immunisation provider

Young people

Meningococcal ACWY

Meningoccal B

  •  Available privately – consult your immunisation provider

People with certain medical conditions

Meningococcal ACWY

  • Free for people with certain medical conditions (number of doses depend on age and medical history)
  •  Available privately – consult your immunisation provider 

Meningoccal B

  • Free for people with certain medical conditions (number of doses depend on age and medical history)
  • Available privately – consult your immunisation provider

The following groups should also consider having a meningococcal vaccine to reduce thier risk of meningococcal disease:

  • People who plan to travel or live in parts of the world where meningococcal disease is common, such as parts of Africa, or people participating in mass international gatherings such as the Hajj in Mecca. Some countries require provide evidence of vaccination for entry visas.
  • Laboratory personnel who frequently handle Neisseria Meningitis.
  • Household or sexual contacts of a case.
  • People who have medical conditions associated with an increased risk of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) such as:
    • defects in or deficiency of complement components, including factor H, factor D or properdin deficiency
    • current or future treatment with eculizumab (a monoclonal antibody directed against complement component C5)
    • functional or anatomical asplenia
    • HIV infection, regardless of stage of disease or CD4+ count
    • haematopoietic stem cell transplant.

People considering immunisation should seek advice from their immunisation provider such as their local doctor (GP) or a travel doctor. Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect against meningococcal disease.

Are meningococcal vaccines safe and effective?

Meningococcal ACWY and meningococcal B vaccines are safe and effective at preventing meningococcal disease. Studies have shown that the vaccines used in WA immunisation programs are safe to use in children and adults.

Where can I get vaccinated?

The meningococcal vaccine is available from immunisation providers such as community immunisation clinics and participating GPs (general practice), community pharmacies and Aboriginal Medical Services.

Contact your immunisation provider directly for more information. While the vaccine is free for eligible people, consultation fees may apply.

Possible side effects

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. Most reactions are mild and last no more than a couple of days and go away on their own. Common side effects of meningococcal vaccines include:

  • irritable, crying, unsettled and generally unhappy
  • loss of appetite
  • headache (usually in adolescents and adults)
  • pain, redness and swelling at injection site
  • ·occasionally an injection-site lump (may last many weeks - no treatment needed)
  • mild fever
  • fever (especially for meningococcal B vaccine in under 2 year olds).

Paracetamol advice for children under 2 years of age

It is important to give babies paracetamol to reduce the risk of fever with meningococcal B vaccine. It is recommended they receive paracetamol before vaccination (or as soon as possible after), as well as 2 more doses (4-6 hours apart) to reduce the likelihood and severity of a possible fever.

Serious vaccine reactions are similar to those of other childhood vaccines and are very rare. Learn more about possible side effects of vaccination, how to manage them, and what to do when you have concerns about side effects.

Where to get help

More information

For vaccination information you can contact your local immunisation provider.

Last reviewed: 03-01-2024

Public Health

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

Where can I get my vaccine?