Has Your Child Received Meningitis B Vaccination?

Meningococcal disease, known as meningitis, is an uncommon but serious illness that can cause life-threatening complications and even death.1 There are different types of meningitis vaccines needed to help protect against the five vaccine-preventable serogroups of meningitis, but some doctors may not mention this and not all parents know to ask.

Get the facts and ask the right questions to "B sure" about meningitis B vaccination.

Get the Facts

So, what is meningitis anyway?

Meningitis is caused by bacteria carried in the nose or back of the throat that can spread through saliva and close contact.1 Early symptoms of meningitis may be similar to those of the flu but can progress quickly and can be fatal, sometimes within 24 hours.3,4 Meningitis can attack the lining of the brain and spinal cord and, in some cases, cause a serious infection of the blood (sepsis).5

Learn more at MeningitisB.com

Okay, who's at risk?

Anyone can get meningitis, but rates of the disease peak in adolescence, with the highest rates among teens and young adults 16-23 years old.6 Meningitis can spread through behaviors such as living in close quarters, coughing, sneezing, kissing and sharing drinks or utensils.1,7 Colleges are environments prone to the spread of meningitis B.8

From 2011 through March 2019, meningitis B caused all U.S. college meningococcal outbreaks, which involved


among an at-risk population of approximately 253,000 students. 8

Help Protect Your Child

What can you do to help protect your teen or young adult?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccination is the best defense against meningococcal disease.9 Because most colleges still do not require meningitis B vaccination, many teens and young adults may miss vaccination.10

But what if my child already got a meningitis vaccination at a younger age?

There are different types of meningitis vaccines needed to help protect against the five vaccine-preventable serogroups of meningitis. While many teens or young adults may have received meningitis vaccination when they were younger, they could be missing vaccination for meningitis B because it has only been available since 2014. 2 It’s important to ask your teen's doctor about their meningitis vaccination options. 2


Nearly 70% of 17-year-olds did not receive even one dose of meningitis B vaccination as of 2022. 12
Start the Conversation

Even though the decision to vaccinate against meningitis B relies on an important conversation between the healthcare provider and parent, not all doctors will mention it.2 Ask your child's healthcare provider about meningitis B vaccination.

Before the Visit

If you aren’t sure whether your teen or young adult has received meningitis B vaccination, contact their healthcare provider’s office and ask for your child’s vaccination records. If your child hasn’t had meningitis B vaccination yet, plan to ask about it at their next appointment. If they don’t have an upcoming appointment, don’t be afraid to make one!2

"Has my child had both types of meningitis vaccinations?"

During the Visit

If records confirm that your teen or young adult hasn't received meningitis B vaccination yet, ask their healthcare provider about vaccination during the appointment. Although uncommon, meningitis can have serious consequences and according to the CDC, vaccination is the best defense against it.3,13

"Because of the potentially severe consequences of the disease, I want to ensure my child receives the different types of vaccinations needed to help protect against meningitis."

After the Visit

Meningitis B vaccination requires multiple doses. After the initial dose, schedule an appointment for the next dose and be sure your teen or young adult keeps the appointment. (Hint: don't be afraid to remind them!)2

Resources for Media

Downloadable and shareable graphics


Meningitis B Cases and Mandates Tracker
Meningitis B Fact Sheet For Parents

The more informed you are, the better equipped you will be to initiate important vaccination conversations with a healthcare professional and ultimately make the best decisions for your teen or young adult. Start the conversation with your child's healthcare provider.


1. CDC. Manual for Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases: Chapter 8: Meningococcal Disease. Accessed April 4, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/surv-manual/chpt08-mening.html
2. Meningococcal vaccination: what everyone should know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reviewed November 20, 2023. Accessed April 4, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mening/public/index.html
3. Pelton SI. Meningococcal disease awareness: clinical and epidemiological factors affecting prevention and management in adolescents. J Adolesc Health. 2010;46:S9-S1
4. Thompson MJ, Ninis N, Perera R, et al. Clinical recognition of meningococcal disease in children and adolescents. Lancet. 2006;367(9508):397-403.
5. CDC. Meningococcal Disease. Accessed April 4, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/index.html
6. CDC. Meningococcal Disease: Clinical Information.https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/clinical-info.html. Accessed April 4, 2024.
7. Meningitis. Overview. Mayo Clinic website.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/meningitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350508. Accessed April 4, 2024.
8. Gary S Marshall, Amanda F Dempsey,Amit Srivastava, Raul E Isturiz, US College Students Are at Increased Risk for Serogroup B Meningococcal Disease, Journal of the Pediatric Infectious DiseasesSociety,piz024, https://doi.org/10.1093/jpids/piz024
9. CDC. Meningococcal disease. Accessed April 4, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/abou/prevention.html.
10. Meningococcal vaccination for adolescents: information for healthcare professionals. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Revised November 20, 2023. Accessed April 4, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mening/hcp/adolescent-vaccine.html
11. CDC. Enhanced Meningococcal Disease Surveillance Reports. 2017-2021. Accessed April 4, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/surveillance/index.html#enhancedreports
12. Pingali C, Yankey D, Elam-Evans LD, et al. Vaccination coverage among adolescents aged 13–17 years — National Immunization Survey-Teen, United States, 2022. MMWR 2023; 72(34): 912-919. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/72/wr/pdfs/mm7234a3-H.pdf
13. Meningococcal disease: prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reviewed February 7, 2022. Accessed April 4, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/prevention.html