Getting vaccinated

What you should know


What is Meningitis?

Meningitis is an infection of the brain that is spread from person to person via respiratory transmission.

It occurs in all countries but is particularly a risk in sub-Sahara Africa, Northern India and Nepal, Brazil, Chile and Mongolia. There may be epidemics from time to time in other areas and your travel doctor will advise you of these. Meningitis has a high fatality rate, but is largely prevented by vaccination. Meningitis vaccination is heavily advised for protection when travelling to these locales.

• Meningitis vaccination grant 85-90% protection and provides immunity within 14 days of vaccination.

• It is recommended for all over 2 years of age.

• Safety in pregnancy has not been established, but seems to be safe after the first three months of pregnancy.

• Muslim Pilgrims performing The Hajj must produce a certificate stating that they have had a meningitis vaccination within the past 3 years.


Meningitis has a high fatality rate, but is largely prevented by vaccination. Additional protection can be provided through meningococcal vaccines and vaccination against other high risk diseases. These options should be discussed with your doctor ahead of your travels.

Adverse reactions

Adverse reactions are infrequent and are usually confined to localised redness of the arm and a slight temperature.

Evidence suggests that the need for a booster has not been determined. The Australian Immunisation Handbook says a booster is for people with specified medical conditions that put them at increased risk of the disease but the timing is different for the age brackets, more info

*This information is to be used as a guide only. Medical advice is recommended to individuals depending on their medical history, previous vaccination history and their itinerary.