Why is Meningitis B in the news?
The tragic death of two-year-old Faye Burdett bought meningitis B to national attention on February 14th this year. The story prompted 820,000 people so far to sign a petition calling for the NHS MenB programme to be extended to all children.
Is my child currently eligible for the NHS MenB vaccine?
All children born on or after 1 May 2015 are eligible for the MenB vaccination (tradename Bexsero). They will be offered a course of three injections including a booster shot, at ages 2 months, 4 months and 12 months. You don’t need to do anything – your GP will contact you.
The UK is the first country in the world to offer MenB vaccination in this way.
What if my child has missed out?
Unfortunately, babies born before 1 May 2015 will not be offered the jabs as part of their routine vaccination. The only exception is if your child is very susceptible to infection because of an existing illness – again, your GP should contact you if this is the case.
Can I buy the vaccination privately?
Yes – Travel Klinix is one of a number of private clinics to offer the vaccine. Although there is a national shortage, Travel Klinix has been able to source limited doses of the Men B vaccination.
How do I book an appointment?
Is there anything else I should know?
Bexsero has been extensively tested for safety and efficacy before being licensed by the European Medical Association. The most common side effect is a brief fever. This is why parents are advised to give 2.5ml of liquid paracetamol soon after the vaccination, followed by two similar doses at 4-6 hour intervals if needed.
Less common side-effects (less than 1 in 100 people) are high fever, seizures, vomiting and an itchy rash. A rare side-effect (less than 1 in 1,000) is Kawasaki syndrome, a serious disease which causes inflammation of blood vessels.
Where can I go for more information?