Meningococcal meningitis is a leading cause of meningitis in the U.S. with significant morbidity and mortality.
The meningitis vaccine is recommended for everyone age 11 to 12 years old.
Because of waning immunity by five years post-vaccination, the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended a booster dose of the meningococcal meningitis vaccine at age 16.
Adolescents who received their first dose of vaccine at age 13 to 15 years should receive a booster at age 16 to 18 years, before college, since there is an increase in meningitis in first-year college students living in dormitories.
Those who received their first dose of meningitis vaccine at age 16 years or older do not need a booster dose.
Since meningococcal meningitis declines after the early 20s, routine meningitis vaccination of healthy adults is not recommended unless they are at an increased risk of getting meningococcal meningitis. Increased risks includes travelers to high risk areas, laboratory workers, children with immune deficiencies and those without a functioning spleen.
For those remaining at high risk for meningitis, a booster dose of the meningitis vaccine should be considered after five years.