Table of contents:
- What is Meningitis Vaccine?
- When and Who Should Get the Meningitis Vaccine?
- Will People Who Have Been Vaccinated Definitely Avoid Meningitis?
- Does Meningitis Vaccine Have Side Effects?
- Are There People Who Should Not Get Meningitis Vaccine?
The meningitis vaccine is identical to the vaccine given to pilgrims who will perform Umrah or go on a pilgrimage. However, it is not only in this group, it is also important to give the meningitis vaccine to people who are at risk of developing meningitis, for example because of a weak immune system or living in an area with high cases of meningitis
Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord caused by a viral or bacterial infection. This disease is dangerous because it has a high risk of causing death.
In addition to viral or bacterial infections, sometimes meningitis can also be caused by fungal infections, especially in patients with weak immune systems, for example due to HIV/AIDS.
There are many types of germs that can cause meningitis, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes TB meningitis or tuberculosis in the brain.
In order to minimize the risk of meningitis, it is important to give the meningitis vaccine, especially if you belong to a high-risk group, for example due to an immunodeficiency condition, advanced age, or have certain chronic diseases, such as diabetes.
What is Meningitis Vaccine?
Meningitis vaccine contains antigens, which are substances that can stimulate the immune system to form antibodies and fight bacteria that cause meningitis.
There are 2 types of meningitis vaccines currently available, namely MenACWY and MenB. Both vaccines are considered capable of protecting against all types of diseases caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis, which is a type of germ that can cause meningitis.
When and Who Should Get the Meningitis Vaccine?
The menACWY vaccine is recommended to be given to children aged 11–12 years, with a booster injection at the age of 16–18 years. In addition, adolescents and young adults aged 16–18 years can also get the menB vaccine, especially if they live in an area with a high incidence of meningitis.
MenACWY vaccine and menB vaccine are also highly recommended to be given to:
- Muslims who will go for Hajj or Umrah.
- People who will travel or live in an endemic country
- People who live in dormitories.
- Patients who have spleen disorders or have had spleen removal surgery.
- People who have a weakened immune system, for example due to malnutrition or HIV/AIDS.
- He alth workers who are at high risk of being exposed to germs that cause meningitis, such as doctors, nurses, and laboratory workers.
Will People Who Have Been Vaccinated Definitely Avoid Meningitis?
Giving a vaccine can reduce a person's risk of developing meningitis. However, this does not mean that people who have been vaccinated cannot get meningitis at all. They can get meningitis from other bacteria that are not protected by this vaccine, such as the bacteria that causes TB.
Therefore, to prevent the transmission of meningitis, it is still recommended that you lead a he althy life, such as regularly washing your hands, wearing a mask when traveling or visiting sick people, and keeping your immune system strong.
Does Meningitis Vaccine Have Side Effects?
About 50% of people who receive the MenACWY meningitis vaccine experience side effects of fever and mild pain or redness at the site where the injection was given. This condition will generally go away in 1-2 days so there is no need to worry too much.
Meanwhile, some people who get the MenB vaccine may experience a wider variety of side effects, such as fatigue, headache, muscle aches, fever, nausea, and diarrhea. Side effects usually get better in 3–7 days.
Besides that, just like other side effects of vaccines, sometimes the meningitis vaccine can also cause side effects after immunization or AEFI. However, this reaction is quite rare.
Are There People Who Should Not Get Meningitis Vaccine?
There are several groups that need to wait or should avoid the meningitis vaccine because there is a risk of serious impacts or side effects, including:
- People who have had a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis after receiving a meningitis vaccine, either MenACWY or MenB, or other vaccines.
- People who are sick, for example, have a fever. They should postpone the meningitis vaccine injection until they are completely he althy.
- People who have or have had Guillain-Barre syndrome. They are advised to consult their doctor first before vaccinating against meningitis.
Giving meningitis vaccine to pregnant women can be done if they are at high risk of getting meningitis. However, it would be better to consult with an obstetrician first to avoid side effects on the mother and fetus.
The meningitis vaccine has not been included in the list of mandatory vaccines in Indonesia, both for children and adults. However, considering the danger of numbers and the risk of transmitting meningitis is still quite high in this country, it never hurts you and your family to get the meningitis vaccine on schedule.
To find out more information about meningitis vaccine recommendations and services for children or adults, you can ask your doctor directly.