MenC Vaccine (Meningococcal C Vaccine)

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The single MenC vaccine was in the routine UK immunisation schedule from 1999 until July 2016.

This vaccine gives protection against meningococcal disease, a major cause of meningitis, that is caused by group CNeisseria meningitidis bacteria.

Babies and children are still protected against MenC disease through the Hib/MenC vaccine given at a year of ageand the MenACWY vaccine given to teenagers, but the single MenC vaccine is no longer routinely used in the UK.

The MenC vaccination programme was introduced in the UK in 1999 and quickly led to a dramatic fall in the number of cases of MenC disease. Meningococcal bacteria are commonly carried in the back of the throat and passed around from person to person in an unvaccinated population. The vaccine prevents the carriage (the harbouring of) MenC bacteria in the back of the throat which means that even people who are not vaccinated are protected by herd immunity.

Recently, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) was notified that Menitorix, the Hib/MenC currently used in the UK, will be discontinued by the manufacturer for commercial reasons. Based on the demonstrated decline of invasive meningococcal A, C, W and Y disease in the UK, primarily through vaccination programmes, the inclusion of a MenC-containing vaccine (such as MenACWY) in the infant schedule will not continue once stocks of Hib-MenC run out. See below for more information.

Currently, there are almost no cases of MenC disease in infants or young children in the UK.

Before vaccination, there were nearly 1000 cases a year and 70-80 deaths a year – Public Health England and Health Protection Agency Archive

MenC vaccines licensed in the UK included NeisVac-C and Menjugate.


The schedule for MenC vaccination in the UK changed several times between 1999 and 2017, due to changing patterns of disease circulating:

  • 1999: MenC vaccination was introduced for babies, with a catch-up for children aged up to 18 years. A first dose was given at 2 months of age, with further doses at 3 and 4 months.
  • 2006: a two dose schedule at 3 and 4 months was introduced, with a combined MenC and Hib booster dose which was given at 12-13 months (the Hib/MenC vaccine, which is still in the UK schedule).
  • June 2013: the MenC dose at 4 months was dropped from the schedule. By this time levels of MenC disease had fallen very significantly, and studies showed that a single dose at 3 months provided good levels of protection against group C meningococcal disease during the first year of life.
  • September 2013 onwards: a MenC booster dose was introduced for teenagers aged 13-14. The aim was to boost protection against MenC disease for individuals and to maintain high levels of herd immunity.
  • Summer of 2014: all those starting university were recommended to receive the MenC vaccine. It was likely that young people born between 1995 and 1999 would have been vaccinated as young children during the MenC catch-up programme in 1999 and 2000. However, they would have missed out on the new booster dose introduced in 2013.
  • Summer of 2015: the single MenC dose for teenagers and new university students was replaced by a combination vaccine, the MenACWY vaccine, which offered protection against four strains of meningococcal disease including type C. It was introduced because of a significant increase in cases of MenW disease in the UK.
  • 1st July 2016: the single MenC dose given at 3 months was dropped from the schedule. This was because levels of MenC disease were now so low that babies under 1 year of age were well protected by herd immunity.


In August 2022, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) released a statement because they had been notified of the discontinuation of Menitorix, the Hib/MenC vaccine used in the UK. This necessitates a change to the routine infant schedule as the Hib/MenC vaccine is currently given at 12 months.


Due to the low levels of meningococcal A, C, W and Y disease in the UK, the JCVI reccomended against replacing the current Hib-MenC vaccine with a different MenC-containing vaccine in the infant schedule. However, efforts to sustain and improve coverage of MenACWY in adolescents are important to maintain herd immunity. See more in the ‘More information about the vaccine’ section below.


Common, affecting up to 1 in 10 people at each dose:

  • redness, tenderness and/or swelling at the injection site
  • slightly raised temperature
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • drowsiness
  • problems with sleeping

Rare, affecting up to 1 in 1000 people at each dose:

  • dizziness
  • high temperatures, sometimes leading to fits (also called convulsions or febrile seizures)
  • fainting, numbness and limpness (hypotonia)

You should consult your doctor if these happen after vaccination. This is mainly to check that it is the vaccine causing the symptoms, and not some unrelated disease. Symptoms such as fits can be very worrying for parents, but there is no evidence of long-term effects. Children can normally safely receive vaccines in the future. For more information on febrile seizures generally, see the NHS website.

As with any vaccine, medicine or food, there is a very small chance of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Anaphylaxis is different from less severe allergic reactions because it causes life-threatening breathing and/or circulation problems. It is always serious but can be treated with adrenaline.

In the UK between 1997 and 2003 there were a total of 130 reports of anaphylaxis following ALL immunisations, although no deaths as a result of the reaction were reported. Around 117 million doses of vaccines were given in the UK during this period, making the overall rate around 1 in 900,000. Depending on the cause of the reaction, and following expert guidance, the person may be able to have vaccinations in the future.

Reactions listed under ‘possible side effects’ or ‘adverse events’ on vaccine product information sheets may not all be directly linked to the vaccine. See Vaccine side effects and adverse reactions for more information on why this is the case.

See more information on the monitoring of vaccine safety.


The MenC vaccine is inactivated and cannot cause the disease itself.

It is a conjugate vaccine. Sugars are purified from the capsule around the MenC bacteria and joined to a non-toxic protein from tetanus. The protein helps to stimulate the immune system in a broader way to respond well to the vaccine. This gives a better immune response in individuals of all ages.

It contains a small amount of aluminium which strengthens and lengthens the immune response to the vaccine.

It also contains a small amount of sodium chloride (salt).

Other brands of MenC vaccine used in other countries may contain different ingredients. If you are not in the UK, ask for the patient information leaflet for the vaccine you are offered.



Following the introduction of the MenC vaccine in 1999, the number of cases of meningococcal disease caused by group C bacteria fell by over 90% in vaccinated groups. There was a very slight rise in cases since 2014-15. MenC cases then continued to fall, and remain low, with 27 cases in 2019-2020, five cases in 2020-2021, and one case reported in 2021 to 2022. 

menc cases

Click here for an accessible text version of this graph

Sources: Public Health England UK Health Security Agency and the Health Protection Agency Archive 


JCVI Advice

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is an expert scientific advisory committee that advises the UK government on vaccination and immunisation.

The JCVI has been notified that Menitorix, the Hib/MenC currently used in the UK, will be discontinued by the manufacturer for commercial reasons.

As Menitorix is the only Hib/MenC combination product currently available in the UK, changes to the routine infant schedule are necessary. It is estimated that, based on current UK stocks of Menitorix, the current routine schedule can continue until 2025.


The JCVI advises that:

  • an additional dose of Hib-containing multivalent (containing multiple strains) vaccine should be offered at 12 or 18 months of age – note that giving this at 18 months would require the creation of a new immunisation visit
  • the second dose of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine should be brought forward from 3 years 4 months to 18 months of age to improve coverage. The JCVI has also recommended that the vaccine for chickenpox should be added to the schedule at 12 and 18 months of age using the combined MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella and varicella) vaccine.
  • based on the demonstrated decline of invasive meningococcal A, C, W and Y disease in the UK (primarily due to the success of the teenage MenACWY vaccination programme) and the subsequent low number of cases to prevent, the inclusion of a MenC-containing vaccine (such as MenACWY) in the infant schedule is not recommended. Efforts to sustain and improve coverage of MenACWY in adolescents are important to maintain herd immunity.

See the JCVI statement here 

See the JCVI chickenpox statement here


Page last updated Monday, November 27, 2023