March 3, 2006
Vaccines for Babies and Children
Two new vaccines have recently been introduced, Menjugate and Prevnar.
Menjugate is a new vaccine for meningitis. Meningitis means an infection of the lining covering the brain. It can cause death or permanent complications, such as deafness; it is often treated with antibiotics. There are several bacteria and viruses that can cause meningitis, and this vaccine works for illness caused by a bacteria called Group C Meningococcus.
number of children under the age of 5 who will get meningitis due to
meningococcus is between 1 and 3 children for every 100,000 children,
year. About one in ten children who
get this disease will die; about 1 child in 50 will be deaf.
The vaccine would prevent most, but not all cases.
This type of meningitis is very rare, so most children who are
will not benefit, but it can be very serious, so that children who
been very ill will benefit.
vaccine is given in 3 injections, starting from the age of 2 months, at
month apart. If you start vaccinating
between the ages of 4 months and 11
months, 2 shots are required, at least a month apart; after the age of
a single shot is given. The Ontario
Government currently covers this shot for babies age1. If you choose to
vaccinate earlier, you can buy the vaccine privately; each shot costs about
$90. We are not
sure if it is worthwhile to give the vaccine after the age of 5, as the
is so rare then. It is probably a
good idea for teens, between the ages of 15 and 19, as they are at
of this type of meningitis. The Ontario
Government currently covers this shot for children age 12, and for teens age 15
do not know if the vaccine is life-long, or whether a booster shot will
needed later on.
side effects are: possible pain, redness and swelling where the vaccine
injected. Sometimes there is
irritability or fever.
is a new vaccine that protects against some strains of Pneumococcus.
Pneumococcus is a bacteria that can cause meningitis, pneumonia,
infections. Serious pneumococcal
infection happens in about 108 children under the age of two per
children each year. The vaccine is
recommended for children under the age of two; children between the
ages of two
and five who are at risk, because they have sickle cell disease, no
some other conditions, can also benefit from the vaccine.
vaccine is effective for preventing meningitis and pneumonia due to
of Pneumococcus. It is not very
effective for ear infections. It
decreases the risk of meningitis by over 90%.
It decreases the risk of any pneumonia by 11%, and the risk of
pneumonia by 73%.
The risk of meningitis due to Pneumococcus is 1 to 2 cases per 100,000 children per year, similar to Meningococcus. About 85% of these cases are due to types of Pneumococcus for which the vaccine provides protection. 20% of children who get this disease will suffer permanent problems, such as deafness.
is given in 3 doses, at least 4 weeks apart, from the age of 2 months;
start between 6 months and a year, only 2 doses are needed.
A booster shot is given between a year and 18 months of age. The Ontario Government currently covers the shots for
children under the age of 2, and for high risk children age 2 to 5.
side effects are redness, pain, swelling where the vaccine is injected;
irritability, sleeplessness or drowsiness and decreased appetite.
Side effects are more common if Prevnar is given with the
More information on both vaccines can be found at http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/program/immun/immunization.html
you have any other questions, please ask me.
Greiver MD, CCFP