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Health Information and Tools > Health A-Z >  Meningococcal Conjugate A, C, Y, W-135 (MenC-ACYW) Vaccine
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Immunization

Meningococcal conjugate A, C, Y, W-135 (MenC-ACYW) vaccine

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​​​​​​​​​​Immunization protects you from disease.
​​Get protected, get immunized.

  • Vaccines make your immune system stronger. They build antibodies to help prevent diseases.
  • Immunization is safe. It's much safer to get immunized than to get this disease.​

What is the MenC-ACYW vaccine?

The MenC-ACYW vaccine protects against 4 types of Neisseria meningitidis bacteria that cause meningococcal disease. These are types A, C, Y, and W-135 meningococcal disease.

Who should have the MenC-ACYW vaccine?

Grade 9 students get the MenC-ACYW vaccine in school. Students who missed getting the MenC-ACYW vaccine in Grade 9 can get it for free until the end of Grade 12.

If your child had the MenC-ACYW vaccine when they were age 12 years or older, they don’t need another dose in Grade 9.

You should also get this vaccine if you’re at risk for meningococcal disease because of:

  • certain health problems
  • the type of work you do (such as some lab workers)
  • close contact with someone with meningococcal disease

Talk to a public health nurse to find out if you can get the MenC-ACYW vaccine for free.

You may also benefit from the vaccine if you travel to an area that has a high risk of meningococcal disease. If you’re getting the vaccine because of travel, it’s not free.

If you can’t get the vaccine for free, check with your health insurance provider to see if your plan covers the cost.

How many doses do I need?

You only need 1 dose of MenC-ACYW unless you have a high risk for disease. If your risk is high, you may need extra doses.

Ask your healthcare provider how many doses you need.

Are there other vaccines that protect against meningococcal disease?

MenconC is a vaccine that babies get to protect them against type C meningococcal disease. If your child had MenconC vaccine as a baby, they still need MenC-ACYW vaccine in Grade 9. This will boost their protection against type C meningococcal disease and protect them from types A, Y, and W-135.

Men-B is a vaccine that protects against type B meningococcal disease. You may also need this vaccine along with the MenC-ACYW if you have certain types of health problems.

How well does the vaccine work?

The protection for types A, C, Y, and W-135 meningococcal disease with the MenC-ACYW vaccine is around 80% to 85%. Protection may weaken over time.

Where can I get the MenC-ACYW vaccine?

Grade 9 students can get the vaccine in school. Parents and guardians will get information about meningococcal disease and the vaccine. If you want your child to get the vaccine in school, you must fill out the consent form and return it to the school.

If you need the vaccine because of your work (such as some lab workers), talk to your workplace health and safety department.

If you can get this vaccine for free, contact the public health office in your area.

If you want the vaccine and need to pay for it, contact a travel health clinic (such as AHS Travel Health Services) or talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Are there side effects from the MenC-ACYW vaccine?

There can be side effects from the MenC-ACYW vaccine, but they tend to be mild and go away in a few days. Side effects may include:

  • redness, swelling, bruising or feeling sore where you had the needle
  • feeling tired or getting upset easily
  • headache
  • fever
  • body aches
  • not feeling hungry or not wanting to eat (poor appetite)
  • feeling sick to your stomach (nausea), vomiting, or loose stool (diarrhea)
  • rash

It’s important to stay for 15 minutes after your vaccine. Some people may have a rare but serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If anaphylaxis happens, you will get medicine to treat the symptoms.

It’s rare to have a serious side effect after a vaccine. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.

How can I manage side effects?

  • To help with soreness and swelling, put a cool, wet cloth over the area where you had the needle.
  • There is medicine to help with fever or pain. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure what medicine or dosage to take. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Children under the age of 18 years should not take aspirin because it can cause serious health problems.
  • Some people with health problems, such as a weak immune system, must call their doctor if they get a fever. If you’ve been told to do this, call your doctor even if you think the fever is from the vaccine.

Who should not have the MenC-ACYW vaccine?

You may not be able to have the vaccine if you:

  • have an allergy to parts of the vaccine
  • had a severe or unusual side effect after this vaccine or one like it

Check with your doctor or a public health nurse before you get the vaccine.

You can still have the vaccine if you have a mild illness, such as a cold or fever. Always tell your healthcare provider if you have allergies or if you have had a side effect from a vaccine in the past.

Facts about meningococcal disease

What is meningococcal disease?
Meningococcal disease is an infection caused by bacteria. It can lead to a serious infection of the fluid and lining that cover the brain and spinal cord (called meningitis) or blood.

  • 1 out of 5 people have a serious infection that causes deafness, seizures, brain damage, or loss of an arm or leg
  • 1 out of 10 people can die

Who’s most at risk?
You’re most at risk of a serious infection if you:

  • are age 4 years or younger, ages 15 years to 19years , or age 60 years and older
  • have health problems
  • have an infection in your lungs or airways (like influenza)
  • live in a crowded home
  • smoke or have contact with second-hand smoke
  • travel to areas where there is a high risk of meningococcal disease
  • do certain work (such as some lab workers)

How does it it spread?
Meningococcal disease spreads through saliva during kissing or sharing food, toys, or water bottles with someone who has the disease.

Some people don’t have symptoms, but can still spread the disease.

Go to the Neisseria meningitidis page on MyHealth.Alberta.ca to find out more about meningococcal disease.

More information

Current as of: August 7, 2020

Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services