Meningococcal B


This vaccine protects against meningococcal disease type B. This disease is easily prevented with immunization.

What is meningococcal disease?

  • An infection caused by a bacteria
  • There are two forms of meningococcal disease: meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and bacteremia (a blood infection)
  • Both forms are very serious and can cause brain damage and even death in just a few hours
  • Spread by kissing, coughing and sneezing. Also spread by sharing drinks, toothbrushes, mouth guards and other objects that go in the mouth.
  • People can spread the bacteria without knowing they have it
  • Meningococcal disease kills one out of 10 people who get it, even with early treatment
  • One out of three survivors will have some form of permanent disability (e.g. limb amputation(s), deafness, and seizures)

What is the benefit of getting Meningococcal B vaccine?

  • The vaccine protects against the most common meningococcal disease strain in Canada (Serogroup B)
  • Two to four doses are required, depending on the age at first dose

Who should get Meningococcal B vaccine?

  • People 2 months through 17 years of age who are at higher risk:
    • functional or anatomic asplenia
    • complement, properdin, factor D or primary antibody deficiencies
    • cochlear implant recipients (pre/post implant)
    • acquired complement deficiencies (e.g., receiving eculizumab)
    • HIV
  • People 2 months and older who have been exposed or may be exposed to Men B.

Talk to your doctor/public health nurse if you:

  • Had a bad reaction to a vaccine or an ingredient in the vaccine, had a serious reaction to latex, Neisseria meningitidis group B proteins, or have any other allergies
  • Are pregnant
  • Take medications or have any diseases that lower the immune system or increase bleeding
  • Feel very sick

What if I decide not to be immunized?

The Meningococcal B immunization is highly recommended for those at risk. Choosing not to be immunized or delaying immunization puts you at risk of getting Meningococcal disease.

Is Meningococcal B vaccine safe?

Yes!  You may have no reaction or mild symptoms that include:

  • Redness, swelling, and pain where the needle went in
  • Fever – higher temperatures may occur in children up to three years of age, speak with a doctor/nurse about the timing of your appointment and taking acetaminophen.
  • Children may become fussy or sleepier than usual;
  • These normal reactions usually last between 12 and 24 hours.

When should I call my doctor?

Serious reactions after vaccination are very rare.  Get immediate medical help if you/your child have any unusual symptoms such as:

  • trouble breathing, swelling in your face/mouth and/or blotchy skin (hives)
  • fever above 40°C (104°F);
  • crying or fussing for more than 24 hours;
  • worsening swelling, redness, and/or pain where the needle went in;
  • unusual sleepiness (difficult to wake)

You know best.  If you notice anything that is not normal after a vaccination, check with your healthcare provider.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions.


  • Make sure to update your immunization record
  • Notify the Health Unit each time your child receives a vaccine by phone (519-753-4937 ext. 451) or online

Sources: Public Health Agency of Canada (Canadian Immunization Guide)Publicly Funded Schedules for Ontario (March 2015)

This information is for general knowledge only and does not replace professional medical advice. Please note there is a cost for immunizations that are not included in Ontario’s Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule. For more information contact us at 519-753-4937 ext. 451 or