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.
Nimenrix is a meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningococcal groups A, C, W and Y. In New Zealand, Nimenrix is only available as a purchased vaccine for individuals from 6 weeks of age through your family doctor.
For individuals with a medical condition that increases their risk of invasive meningococcal disease AND is listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule, the meningococcal vaccines NeisVac-C® and/or Menactra® are available as funded vaccines.
Meningococcal A, C, W, Y conjugate vaccine:
Meningococcal C only conjugate vaccine:
Meningococcal group B only recombinant vaccine
Nimenrix® is not funded in New Zealand but is available for purchase.
Conjugated meninigococcal vaccine is recommended, but not funded, for individuals:
Nimenrix is not funded for any special groups.
Store the lyophilised vaccine as per cold chain between 2°C to 8°C. Protect from light. The sterile 0.9% saline diluent may be refrigerated or stored at room temperature, but must not be frozen.
Nimenrix must be reconstituted by adding the entire contents of the pre-filled syringe of solvent to the vial containing the powder. After the addition of the solvent to the powder, the mixture should be well shaken until the powder is completely dissolved. The reconstituted vaccine is a clear colourless solution. After reconstitution, the vaccine should be used promptly. Although delay is not recommended, stability has been demonstrated for 8 hours at 30°C after reconstitution. If not used within the 8 hours, do not administer the vaccine.
Infants aged 6 weeks to under 6 months: Administer two doses 8 weeks apart followed by a booster dose aged 12 months or a minimum of 6 months after the second dose, whichever is later.
Infants aged 6 months to under 12 months: Administer one dose followed by a booster dose aged 12 months or a minimum of 8 weeks after first dose, whichever is later.**
Children aged 12 month or older, adolescents and adults: Administer one dose. A booster dose may be indicated in some individuals.
Nimenrix can be administered at the same visit as other vaccines including all vaccines on the national immunisation schedule. Separate syringes and different injection sites should be used.
The vaccine is for intramuscular injection only, preferably in the deltoid muscle. In children aged 6 weeks to 23 months of age, the vaccine should be administered in the vastus lateralis. Under no circumstances should Nimenrix be administered intravascularly, intradermally or subcutaneously. Advice regarding administration of booster vaccinations is limited.
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.
Nimenrix generates long term memory cells and a booster immunisation will rapidly generate more circulating protection years later.
In children, adolescents and adults:
The following table shows the percentage of individuals with protective levels of circulating antibodies against meningococcal groups A, C, Y and W one month after receipt of two infant doses of Nimenrix (at 2 months and 4 months of age), two infant doses plus a booster dose of Nimenrix at 12 months of age, and a single dose of Nimenrix when aged 12 months or older.
Infants 6 weeks to<13 monthsA, C, Y, WTwo doses 8 weeks apart from 6–12 weeks of age plus a booster dose at 12 months of age96.5–100%Infants 6 months to18 monthsA, C, Y, WOne dose aged 6 months plus a booster dose at 15–18 months of age87-100
A, C, Y, W
A, C, Y, W
A, C, Y, W
A, C, Y, W