Meningitis is an infection in the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. There are two main types of meningitis: viral and bacterial. Bacterial meningitis is the most serious type. It’s the type that has been found in people with cochlear implants. Worldwide, there are more than 90 known reports of people getting meningitis after getting a cochlear implant, out of approximately 60,000 people who have cochlear implants.
Parents of children who have cochlear implants, or are planning to receive an implant and are younger than 2 years old, should consult with their child’s physician regarding meningitis vaccinations.
Children age 2 years and older who have cochlear implants and have completed the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar) series should receive one dose of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax 23). If they have just received pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, they should wait at least two months before receiving pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.
Children who have cochlear implants, are between 2 and 5 years old, and have never received either vaccine should receive two doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine two or more months apart and then receive one dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine at least two months later.
Children age 5 years and older with cochlear implants should receive one dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.