Meningococcal vaccine uptake among men who have sex with men in response to an invasive meningococcal C disease outbreak in Melbourne, Australia

Sex Transm Infect. 2020 Jun;96(4):246-250. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2019-054318. Epub 2020 Jan 9.


Objective: In 2017, there was an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) serogroup C among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Victoria, Australia. A government-funded free meningococcal (MenACWY) vaccination programme targeting all MSM living in Victoria was launched between December 2017 and December 2018. The aim of this study was to examine the vaccine uptake among MSM attending a sexual health clinic in Melbourne.

Methods: This was a retrospective clinical audit of MSM attending the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) during the vaccination programme. We calculated the proportion of MSM who received the meningococcal vaccine on their first visit and at any time during the programme. We performed univariable and multivariable logistic regression to identify the factors associated with the vaccine uptake on the first visit.

Results: Of the 10 370 MSM who attended MSHC, 55.5% received the vaccine on their first visit and 67.4% at any time during the programme. MSM had higher odds of receiving the vaccine on the first visit if they were aged 16-25 years (adjusted OR (aOR) 1.21; 95% CI 1.08 to 1.35) or 26-35 years (aOR 1.17; 95% CI 1.07 to 1.29) in comparison with MSM older than 35 years; were HIV-negative and not on pre-exposure prophylaxis (aOR 1.80; 95% CI 1.56 to 2.09); had more than four male partners in the last 12 months (aOR 1.16; 95% CI 1.06 to 1.27); had male partners only (aOR 2.24; 95% CI 1.96 to 2.55); or were born overseas (aOR 1.11; 95% CI 1.03 to 1.21).

Conclusions: Two-thirds of the MSM attending a sexual health clinic received at least one dose of meningococcal vaccine. The vaccination programme coincided temporally with a dramatic reduction in the incidence of IMD. Vaccination should be further promoted among MSM and men who have sex with both men and women.

Keywords: gay men; sexual behaviour; vaccination; vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Male*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / epidemiology*
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / prevention & control*
  • Meningococcal Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vaccination Coverage / statistics & numerical data*
  • Victoria / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Meningococcal Vaccines