Bacterial meningitis is a rare, but potentially catastrophic infection. All of the vaccines against bacterial meningitis are effective in preventing disease and are very safe. Local reactions at the site of the injection occur in about 20% of children. The redness, swelling, and pain are usually mild and last only a day or so. Severe reactions are very rare. Fever, irritability, crying, loss of appetite, or other general reactions are uncommon with all of the polysaccharide vaccines.
However the new vaccine against group B meningococcus (Bexsero®) is associated with an increased rate of fever in infants at 2, 4, and 6 months of age when it is given at the same visit as the routine infant vaccines. The fever is usually between 39-40°C and rarely lasts more than 48 hours. Fever can be controlled with acetaminophen if necessary.
Specific information about each vaccine is provided on the vaccine page.