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What are the side effects of the meningitis vaccine?

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Quick Answer

Side effects of meningococcal vaccines include redness or pain at the site of the shot, fever, brief fainting spells and seizure-like movements, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Serious allergic reactions, harm or death caused by meningococcal vaccines are very rare.

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Full Answer

As many as 50 percent of meningococcal vaccine recipients experience pain or redness where the shot is given, but only a small percentage of individuals develop a fever, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pain and redness normally last one or two days and are more common in the meningococcal conjugate vaccine than in the meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine. Fainting, jerking and seizure-like movements are most common in adolescents and put the individual at risk of falls and other injuries. Individuals should sit or lie down for 15 minutes after receiving a vaccine, particularly if they feel faint.

Individuals should not receive a meningococcal vaccine if they have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose, are severely ill or are severely allergic to any component in the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pregnant women may receive a meningococcal vaccine, but they should keep in mind that the meningococcal conjugate vaccine has not been studied as intensely as the meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine for safety during pregnancy as of 2015.

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