How do I get my child vaccinated against meningitis B?

The infection can cause blood-poisoning (septicaemia), severe brain damage, amputations and even death. Credit: PA
  • What is Meningitis B?

Meningococcal infections can be extremely serious and cause meningitis and blood-poisoning (septicaemia). This can lead to severe brain damage, amputations and even death.

In the past 20 years, between 500 and 1,700 people every year, mainly babies and young children, have suffered from Men B disease, with around 1 in 10 dying from the infection.

  • Can my child get the vaccine?

Since 1 September 2015, the NHS has offered a men B vaccine to babies as part of the routine childhood vaccination programme.

The vaccine is available across the UK, and will be offered to babies born on or after 1 July 2015. The men B vaccine is recommended for babies aged 2 months followed by a second dose at 4 months then a booster at 12 months.

  • What happens if my child was born before 1 July 2015?

There is a limited catch up programme for babies born between 1 May and 30 June 2015.

If your child was born before 1 May, s/he will not be offered the vaccination.However, babies and infants who are very susceptible to infection may be offered the jab. Check with your GP.

  • Does the vaccine offer total protection against meningitis?

There are many different men B strains, but some tests predict that the Men B vaccine protects against 90% of the strains circulating in the United Kingdom. However, the full extent of its protection will not be known until it is in regular use.

  • Is the vaccine safe?

The men B vaccine (Bexsero) was licensed by the European Medial Association in January 2013 and all vaccines are extensively tested for safety and effectiveness before being licensed. The vaccine cannot cause meningitis.