In March 2014, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the independent expert group that advises UK governments on vaccination, recommended routine use of the first ever wideranging MenB (meningococcal B meningitis and septicaemia) vaccine. They advised that the vaccine be offered to babies at 2, 4 and 12 months of age. This news has been welcomed by the Meningitis Research Foundation and by parents and doctors. Studies are still going on into how effective it will be for adolescence and there is no recommendation that teenagers be vaccinated on the NHS at present. The manufacturers recommend four doses to be given at 2,3,4 and 12 months which is the protocol we use here.
Why do we need Meningitis B vaccine?
Meningitis is a serious illness causing inflammation of the brain covering (meninges). It can be caused by different germs – bacteria or viruses. There are several types of meningitis which have already been prevented by vaccination –in particular Meningitis C, HiB and Pneumococcal. For decades Meningitis B has been the most common cause of meningitis in the UK and Ireland and the leading cause of death in children under five. Unfortunately it has been harder to develop an effective vaccine for these bacteria. Now a vaccine has been produced (Bexsero®) and is likely to be very effective in preventing Meningitis B.
Is the Vaccine safe?
Bexsero® has been thoroughly studied and has been found to have a very good safety profile. As with all vaccinations, there is a small risk of side effects including pain and swelling at the site, fever, lack of appetite, muscle aches, sleepiness, irritability and sometimes a rash.
Can Bexsero® be given at the same time as other routine vaccines?
Yes. The side effects seen when Bexsero® is given with other vaccines in the routine childhood schedule are the same as those commonly seen with vaccines in general. This is also true when the vaccine is given at the same time as hepatitis B and varicella (chickenpox) vaccines. Fever is more common in babies when Bexsero® is given alongside other vaccines although taking paracetamol after getting vaccinated (or at the same time) reduces