How Much Do Meningitis Vaccines Cost?
Because of what we see, hear, or read everywhere, paranoia has become part of our character in recent years, especially if we are already a parent.
When we see a rash in our kid’s skin, palpitations set in. It may be just a simple case of a bug or other insect bite that coincided with a fever. Yes, of all the time to have a rash. But we want to make sure. We do the glass test. When the rash turns white upon pressure from the clear glass, we could heave a sigh of relief. When it didn’t, our palpitations turn to heart attack, figuratively, as this calls for an emergency.
But why subject yourself to this kind of stress and your loved one the agony when you could prevent it from happening by having them vaccinated against meningitis and be protected from some of its strains?
Meningitis is a disease which causes inflammation or swelling of the protective membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord. It spreads through the common behavior such as sharing foods, utensils and sharing rooms with someone who has the virus.
Symptoms can mimic that of a regular fever with the existence of some rash but can be fatal within 24 hours if not treated immediately.
Although the occurrence of most of the cases and strains has become rarer in recent years, getting protected is still often opted. Knowing how much is a meningitis shot can help you make an informed judgment on whether to avail the vaccine and absorb the pricey cost and get the peace of mind we all so wanted or not get it at all and pray that you or your loved ones be spared of the illness.
Average Cost of Meningitis Vaccine
In the United States, there are three meningococcal vaccines available. These are as follows:
- Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4) which is sold as Menomune.
- Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) which is sold as Menactra, Menveo, and Menhibrix.
- Serogroup B meningococcal vaccine which is sold as Trumenba and Bexsero.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, the meningitis shot cost intended for the Meningococcal B strain is $122.65 per dose or $367.95 for the three-dose series for the for Trumenba brand manufactured by Pfizer and $160.75 per dose or $321.50 for the two-dose series for the Bexsero by GlaxoSmithKline.
For meningococcal conjugate (groups A, C, Y, and W-135), the Menactra brand by Sanofi Pasteur costs $112.93 and the Menveo by GlaxoSmithKline is priced at $117.42.
All these sets of vaccines are applicable to both pediatric and adult.
The Menomune-A-C-Y-W-135 costs around $132.50 to $141.88 per shot at different pharmacies.
- Shoprite – $132.50
- ACME – $133.64
- Walmart – $134.83
- Rite Aid – $135.96
- Stop & Shop Pharmacy – $137.93
- CVS – $139.63
- CVS inside Target – $139.63
- Duane Reade – $141.88
- Walgreens – $141.88
- Local Pharmacies – $132.50 to $139.63
On the other hand, GoodRx.com has listed down the following prices of various Meningitis vaccines from the leading pharmacies in the country:
According to WebMD.com, one-third out of the 1,000 to 2,600 people who get meningococcal disease each year is teens and young adults. Out of those numbers, 10% to 15% will die even when antibiotic treatment and 20% would survive but would suffer from permanent side effects such as hearing loss or even brain damage. That is why most colleges and universities require meningitis vaccinations.
In fact, first-year college students who are living in residence halls and dormitories are recommended to be vaccinated against meningitis. If they have already had the vaccine before their 16th birthday, they are recommended to get a booster before entering college.
As an example, as part of student requirements, the meningitis vaccine costs according to University of Notre Dame are the following:
- Meningitis (Bexsero) – series of 2 $265.50
- Meningitis (Menactra) – $186.50
- Meningitis (Trumenba)- series of 3 – $190.97
What are Included
The meningitis shot cost includes a single dose protection against some of the meningitis strains, the type of which depends on which you need protection from.
Unfortunately, even if you have already been vaccinated with all the type of meningitis shots available, it is not a guarantee that you are risk-free against the disease as there are still a few strains that do not have vaccines yet so you still need to be vigilant to avoid contacting those strains.
Typical with some type of vaccines are the boosters. In the case of the meningitis vaccine, a booster is usually required every three to 10 years.
Some other vaccines worth considering in preventing meningitis include the following:
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine which costs around $10.26 to $25.25 as per CDC depending on brand and manufacturer.
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) which cost $169.11
- Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) which cost around $86.71
Shopping for Meningitis Vaccine
Meningitis vaccines are widely available at any local pharmacies in your area as well as county and city health centers.
There are also local health centers providing free meningitis vaccines to qualified individuals. You may check out the Human Resources and Services Administration under the Department of Health and Human Services for more information.
For adults, you can check out Vaccines.gov if there are available vaccines near your area just by providing your zip code.
Factors Affecting Cost of Meningitis Vaccine
Type of meningitis strain – how much is a meningitis shot depends on the type of the meningitis strain you want your child to be protected from and would be the foremost factor to affect the price of the shots as there are several types of these vaccines in the market.
Brand – there are several types of meningitis vaccines that treat the same strains but are priced differently because of the brand names.
Manufacturer – some manufacturers produce vaccine shots intended to prevent the same strains but under different brands and these brands typically have varying prices.
Income – if you do not have a steady source of income and do not have any health insurance, you can locate some of the federally funded health centers where you would only be required to pay what you can afford.
Insurance – most health insurance cover meningitis vaccinations either partially or fully depending on your coverage.
Not all persons are a candidate for the meningitis vaccines and the CDC specifically recommends these shots to a number of persons under some categories, to wit:
- Children who are between ages 11 to 18 years old
- Younger children who are at high risk
- Those who are traveling to places where meningitis is common like in the sub-Saharan Africa
- Military recruits
- People with immune system disorders
- Those who have damaged or missing spleen
On the other hand, although some may fall into the age and other categories, there are those who are discouraged to get the vaccine. Some of them include:
- Those who have had severe allergic reaction to meningitis vaccine before
- Those who are ill at the time of the vaccine schedule
- Those who have had Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Although the meningococcal vaccine is generally safe for pregnant women, it is only recommended if there is a serious threat of exposure to meningitis or if they have certain immune problems.