There are three types of meningococcal vaccine against N. meningitidis available in the United States:
- Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV-4 or Menomune®) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has been available since 1981
- Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV-4) is available as two different vaccines: Menactra®, which was licensed in 2005, and Menveo®, which was licensed in 2010.
- Meningococcal bivalent vaccine is available in combination with a Hib vaccine (as MenHibrix®), which was approved in 2012.
MPSV-4 and MCV-4 vaccines can prevent four types of meningococcal disease, including two of the three types most common in the United States (serogroups C, Y, and W-135) and a type that causes epidemics in Africa (serogroup A). The bivalent vaccine protects against only two types (C and Y).
Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV-4)
MCV-4 (meningococcal conjugate vaccine) was licensed for use in the United States in early 2005. The Menactra version of this vaccine is licensed for people between the ages of 9 months and 55 years old. A more recent version (Menveo) was approved in early 2010 and is licensed for people 2 months through 55 years of age.
The meningococcal vaccine is expected to provide longer-lasting protection from meningococcal disease. It may also be better at preventing the spread of disease from person to person. MCV-4 is the preferred meningococcal vaccine for all individuals under the age of 55 years.
Meningococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (MPSV-4)
MPSV-4 (meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine) has been used in the United States since the 1970s.
This vaccine is licensed for children older than two years of age, as well as adolescents and adults. It is the only meningococcal vaccine approved for use in individuals age 55 and older.
Bivalent Meningococcal Vaccine
In 2012, the first meningococcal vaccine approved for use in infants was approved. MenHibrix is given as four doses to infants between the ages of 6 weeks and 18 months of age. The vaccine is a combination vaccine that also provides protection against invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) diseases.