The meningococcal vaccination protects against various meningococcal bacteria: types A, C, W and Y. That means it protects against meningitis and blood poisoning. Children receive this vaccination at 14 months and again at 14 years.

The meningococcal vaccination in summary

Protects against Meningococcal infections
Given at 14 months and 14 years
Period of protection Voor peuters neemt de bescherming in de jaren na vaccinatie langzaam af. Tieners zijn minstens 10 jaar beschermd
Most common side effects  At 14 months: Fever, crying, vomiting, sleepiness, diarrhoea, not drinking well and symptoms at the injection site, such as a red, swollen or painful arm. At 14 years: Muscle pain, fatigue, headache and symptoms at the injection site, such as a red, swollen or painful arm

When to get the meningococcal vaccination

Children are given the meningococcal vaccination twice, so that they are protected during the period when they are most at risk. Children get their first vaccination at 14 months, simultaneously with the MMR vaccination. Protection from this first vaccination gradually decreases. That is why children receive a second vaccination at 14 years. Meningococcal infections are dangerous not only to young children, but also to teens and young adults up to the age of 25. Teens are protected for at least 10 years after the second vaccination.

link naar jongerenpagina

Ben je tiener? Ga dan naar de jongerenpagina over Meningokokken.

Side effects of the meningococcal vaccination at 14 months

When? Most side effects occur within a day after vaccination and are gone within a couple of days.
Happens often

Fever, crying, vomiting, sleepiness, diarrhoea, not drinking well and symptoms at the injection site, such as a red, swollen or painful arm.

Happens sometimes

A febrile seizure, with 1 or 2 days after vaccination (less than 1 in 10,000 children). This can happen if a fever rises very fast. The child may twitch or shake their arms and legs, or become unconscious.

Good to know Your child cannot infect others after this vaccination.

Side effects of the meningococcal vaccination at 14 years

When? Most side effects occur within a day after vaccination and are gone within a couple of days.
Happens often

Muscle pain, fatigue and headache are common, as well as symptoms at the injection site, such as a red, swollen or painful arm.

Happens sometimes

Occasionally, a child passes out after vaccination. This may be related to a fear of needles.

Good to know Your child cannot infect others after this vaccination.

Nervous about side effects 

When your child receives vaccinations, you may feel uneasy. There may be side effects. It is good to know that the National Immunisation Programme vaccinations are given in many other countries as well. Studies from all those countries show that these vaccinations are safe. There are no known long-term negative effects. 

The meningococcal vaccine contains parts of 4 types of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease. These parts have been made harmless and cannot make you ill. 

The page ‘What is in vaccines?’ provides more information on what is in vaccines. The page ‘How does vaccination work?’ provides information on how vaccinations work.

If you are planning a trip outside the Netherlands, you usually do not need to have your child vaccinated early (before the recommended age) – unless that country has a high risk of infectious diseases. Will you be travelling abroad for a short trip or a longer period, and does your child need vaccinations? Check with the youth healthcare services (JGZ) if you need to adjust your child’s vaccination schedule. 

Do you have questions about vaccinations that you need for a trip outside the Netherlands? Consult the National Coordination Centre for Travellers Advice (LCR) website. The LCR website includes information on which vaccinations are advisable and where to make an appointment in your area.

If you are ill, please contact the organisation that will give the vaccination. They can tell you if it is a good idea to get the vaccination right now. Sometimes the vaccination may be postponed for a bit. The vaccination is safe for children with reduced immunity.

The meningococcal vaccination is extra important for children with reduced immunity as a result of disease or medication. The vaccination is safe for children with impaired immunity, but it may be less effective. Children with these health conditions always have their case supervised by a treating paediatrician, who can provide more information.