Meningitis Vaccine Side Effects and Risks

Monika Singh   by Monika Singh, MS    Last updated on October 3, 2019,

meningitis vaccine side effects


Are there any side effects and risks of meningitis vaccine?

Meningitis refers to a medical condition in which the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord (also known as meninges) gets inflamed and swollen.

There are two types of meningitis. One is viral meningitis, in which the tissue is infected at a mild level and get resolved on its own in a few weeks. Second is bacterial meningitis, in which the inflammation is more serious and can be life-threatening. But, a vaccination can prevent such type of infection.

Side effects of the vaccination in adults

Vaccination helps fight the infection. On the other hand, it also includes some side-effects such as:


Weakness is a serious side effect that a patient experiences after the vaccination. The person may experience an unusual feeling in his arms and legs. These side effects can occur immediately after the injection or they may take 2 to 4 weeks for their development.

The weakness and unusual sensation in legs and arms should not be ignored and the person should immediately consult a doctor.


Fever along with chills is the most common side effect and a small percentage of people who receive the vaccine develop a mild fever.

Fever and chills may develop within 6-24 hours after the vaccination. The patient should consult a doctor in case of fever and should seek medical advice.

Unusual Bleeding

Unusual bleeding is one of the serious side effects of the meningitis vaccine. The patient may experience excessive bleeding or bleeding that does not easily stop. Excessive bruising can also develop before bleeding starts. The patient should immediately seek medical help if such things are experienced.


Pain, swelling, redness and lump is experienced by nearly half of the patients who get vaccination at the injection site. These symptoms usually last for 1 or 2 days.

The best method to alleviate these symptoms is the application of ice on the affected area for 15-20 minutes. The process is repeated after a break of 20-30 minutes. If the symptoms still persist, the patient should consult with his or her doctor.

Allergic reactions

A severe allergic reaction is usually experienced within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot. But the likelihood of a severe reaction is extremely less.


People sometimes faint after the vaccination. The solution to this is that the patient should sit or lie down for about 15 minutes in order to prevent fainting and injuries caused by a fall.

Other Side Effects

There are a number of other side effects which may be experienced after the vaccination. Some of them are common while some are less common. Other side effects are given below:

More common side effects of the vaccination

  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty with moving
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Cough
  • Difficulty with swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Inability to move the arms and legs
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle pain or stiffness
  • Pain in the joints
  • Sleepiness

Less common side effects of the vaccination

  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Side effects of the vaccination in children

Toddlers are given a single injection. About one-fourth of them may have one or two disturbed nights along with pain and discomfort. And 5 percent of the toddlers may develop a bit of a fever following the vaccination.

Older children also experience the same symptoms but less frequently and with less severity.  About 2 percent may suffer from fever within 2-5 days of the injection. Other symptoms may include:

  • Fussiness
  • Irritability
  • Crying for hours and longer
  • Redness, swelling, and lump at the site of the injection
  • Pain when moving the leg or arm where injection is given

Monika Singh

Monika Singh is an expert in computer sciences and has pursued her Master’s degree (M.Tech-CS) from Banasthali University, Rajasthan. Her areas of interest include data structure, software engineering, software testing, and computer graphics. Monika Singh has published a paper on “Modified AODV in MANET,” International Journal of Computer Science and Management Studies (IJCSMS), ISSN: 2231-5268, Vol-14, Issue-05 May 2014, PP:12-18.

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