Vaccines

Vaccine Schedule for Canadian Provinces and Territories – MeningitisBC.org  (Click to view PDF / Right click to download)

Travel Medicine and Vaccination Centres in BC

 

Meningitis Vaccine Facts From Health Canada, Provinces in Canada, and B.C.

Since 2003, Children in B.C. are only immunized with MenC vaccine in the B.C. Public Immunization Program at 2 and 12 mos. of age, and again in Grade 6.

May 2006 – Health Canada approved “Menactra” by sanofi pasteur, a quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine against serogroups A, C, Y & W-135 for protection against meningococcal disease in people aged 11 to 55.

June 8, 2010 – Health Canada approved “MenVeo” by Novartis Pharmaceutical Canada Inc., a quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (A, C, Y & W-135) for adolescents (11-18 years) and adults (19-55 years).

“MenVeo” or “Menactra” are only provided free to B.C. children and adults with medical conditions that put them at high-risk of contracting the bacteria, such as patients with no spleen, or who have had a stem cell transplant. The vaccine is also given to close contacts of a person with meningococcal A, C, Y, or W-135.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends the ACYW135 vaccine to: 

  • Laboratory workers routinely exposed to meningococcal bacteria
  • Military personnel
  • Students attending college or university particularly students living on campus
  • Those living or traveling in a high risk area for meningococcal disease

The NACI is recommending that a dose of a quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine be given in early adolescence, ideally around 12 years of age, even if the adolescent was previously vaccinated as part of a routine vaccination program. This adolescent dose is to ensure that circulating antibodies are present as adolescents enter the peak years for invasive meningococcal disease beyond infancy, which are between 15 and 24 years of age.

Currently in Canada there is no vaccine for Serogroup B. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., has developed a vaccine for Serogroup B called “4CMenB”, which is currently before Health Canada for approval to administer in Canada.

The meningococcal organism is known for its ability to rapidly switch serogroups when put under pressure such as exerted by mass vaccination programs. In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, German researchers expressed the following concern – “The rapidity of the serogroup switching arouses concern about the induction of herd immunity against single serogroups by vaccination programs in which capsular antigens (e.g., serogroup C polysaccharides) are used. Without lowering the incidence of meningococcal disease in the long run, such programs may rapidly increase the incidence of serogroups B, Y or W-135 Meningococcal disease. [This hypothesis has not been borne out yet in Canada, USA, England, either in civilian or military populations. It is a concern. The major issue is that the meningococcus can change rapidly, regardless of whether or not vaccines programs exist.]