Rationale for the Development of a Pentavalent Meningococcal Vaccine: A US-Focused Review

Infect Dis Ther. 2022 Jun;11(3):937-951. doi: 10.1007/s40121-022-00609-9. Epub 2022 Mar 31.


While invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) is uncommon, it can result in serious sequelae and even death. In 2018 in the United States, the incidence of IMD per 100,000 people was 0.03 among adolescents 11-15 years of age, 0.10 among persons 16-23 years of age, and 0.83 among infants < 1 year of age. Serogroup B accounted for 86%, 62%, and 66% of cases, respectively, in those age groups. Currently, routine meningococcal vaccination covering serogroups ACWY (MenACWY) is recommended in the United States for all adolescents at 11-12 years of age, with a booster dose at 16 years of age, whereas a meningococcal serogroup B (MenB) vaccine series is recommended for persons 16-23 years of age under the shared clinical decision-making paradigm. The MenACWY vaccination program in adolescents has been successful in reducing disease burden, but does not prevent disease caused by serogroup B, which accounts for more than half of IMD cases. There are currently no approved vaccines that cover all of the most common disease-causing meningococcal serogroups, which are A, B, C, W, and Y. A pentavalent MenABCWY vaccine that is constituted from 2 licensed meningococcal vaccines-MenB-FHbp and MenACWY-TT-is being investigated in healthy persons ≥ 10-25 years of age. The addition of a MenABCWY vaccine is the next natural step in the incremental meningococcal immunization program in the United States to improve protection against the most common serogroup causing IMD, with no increase in the number of immunizations needed. With high uptake, routine use of MenABCWY could reduce IMD cases and associated mortality, the rate of long-term physical and psychosocial sequelae in survivors, and costs associated with controlling outbreaks, particularly on college campuses. A MenABCWY vaccine would also reduce the number of injections required for adolescents, potentially improving compliance.

Keywords: Adolescents; Infants; Invasive meningococcal disease; Meningococcal conjugate vaccine; Neisseria meningitidis; Pentavalent.

Publication types

  • Review