Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. At least 12 groups have been identified, including groups A, B, C, X, Y and W. The pattern of disease caused by each group varies by time and country or geographical areas.groups have been identified, including groups A, B, C, Y and W. In New Zealand from 2015 to 2017, groups B and C were the most frequent causes of meningococcal disease. However, this has changed since 2018 with an increase in disease caused by groups W or Y. Over 2018–2019, just under half of cases were caused by meningococcal group B, and just under half by groups C, W or Y. Meningococcal group A rarely causes disease in New Zealand.
In New Zealand, conjugate vaccines protect against groups A, C, Y and W (Menactra® or Nimenrix®) or group C only (NeisVac-C®), and the multicomponent recombinant vaccine protects against group B only (Bexsero®). For best protection against all meningococcal disease in New Zealand, separate vaccinations against group B disease and groups A, C, Y and W disease are recommended.
The MeNZB™ vaccine used in New Zealand between 2004 and 2011 was designed to target a specific type of meningococcal group B bacteria that caused a prolonged epidemic here in New Zealand.
NeisVac-C is a meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningococcal group C only. The vaccine is funded for children aged under 9 months with a medical condition that increases their risk of invasive meningococcal disease AND is listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule. NeisVac-C is also available as a purchased vaccine through your family doctor.
In infants and children:
Meningococcal C only conjugate vaccine:
Meningococcal A, C, W, Y conjugate vaccines:
Meningococcal group B only recombinant vaccine
NeisVac-C® is funded for children aged under 9 months with a medical condition that increases their risk of meningococcal disease AND is listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule. The vaccine is available for purchase for children and adults with a medical condition that is not listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule.
When available, use of meningococcal vaccine against the groups A, C, Y and W (Menactra or Nimenrix) is preferred over the group C only (NeisVac-C) vaccine due to the observed increases in disease caused by groups W or Y since 2018.
NeisVac-C is recommended and funded for infants aged under 9 months in the following groups:
Store as per cold chain between 2°C to 8°C.
NeisVac-C is presented as a semi-opaque white to off-white suspension in single dose syringe. Upon storage a white deposit and clear supernatant can be observed. The vaccine should be shaken thoroughly before us. After shaking, the vaccine should be a homogeneous semi-opaque white to off-white suspension.
NeisVac-C can be administered at the same visit as other vaccines including all vaccines on the National Immunisation Schedule.
NeisVac-C is for intramuscular use only, preferably in the vastus lateralis in infants and the deltoid region in older children, adolescent and adults. The vaccine must not be administered subcutaneously or intravenously.
**When available, use of meningococcal vaccine against the groups A, C, Y and W (Menactra or Nimenrix) is preferred over the group C only (NeisVac-C) vaccine due to the observed increases in disease caused by groups W or Y since 2018.
More than 20 years of studies and safety monitoring have shown that the conjugate meningococcal vaccines have excellent safely profiles.
Protection against meningococcal disease is dependent on an individual having adequate existing circulating protection provided by antibodies because the bacteria cause disease more quickly than the immune system can generate new protection. Immunisation generates circulating antibodies. Over time the antibody levels decrease. The number and quality of antibodies and how long they last depend on what type of vaccine is used, the meningococcal group(s) covered by the vaccine, and the age of the person receiving the vaccine.
As there are generally low numbers of meningococcal disease cases in countries such as Australia, England, Germany, New Zealand and the United States it is not possible to determine exactly how many cases of disease are prevented by vaccination and how long protection after vaccination lasts. Instead, the immune system response and antibody levels are used as an alternative measure of how well and how long meningococcal vaccines can protect from disease.
After completion of the recommended vaccination course: