Menactra and Pregnancy
Because Menactra (meningococcal vaccine) is a pregnancy Category C medication, a healthcare provider may prescribe it for a pregnant woman if the benefits outweigh the risks. The vaccine is not expected to cause significant or serious problems during human pregnancy. However, this product has not been adequately studied in pregnant women, so talk to your healthcare provider to get the facts on your particular situation.
Menactra® (meningococcal vaccine) is approved to prevent invasive meningococcal disease. It is licensed for use in individuals age 9 months through 55 years old. At this time, it is uncertain whether this vaccine is safe for use during pregnancy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant humans but do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. In addition, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
Menactra has been studied in pregnant mice. Even a very large dose (equivalent to 900 times the recommended Menactra dosage in humans) did not appear to cause any problems. Out of 234 mice fetuses that were studied, one had a cleft palate; however, this isolated case does not appear to be related to the vaccine.
This vaccine is not expected to cause significant or serious problems during human pregnancy. The reported cases of Menactra use during human pregnancy do not suggest a link between the vaccine and any birth defects or complications. However, because it has not been adequately studied in pregnant women, the possibility of problems cannot be ruled out.
In general, it is recommended that anyone who fits into the recommended groups for vaccination (such as people without a spleen) should receive the vaccination, pregnant or not.
(For more information about who should receive this vaccine, see Menactra Uses.)