The meningitis B (MenB) vaccine helps protect against meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) caused by meningococcal bacteria B.
Meningitis is inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. This causes pressure on the brain resulting in symptoms like:
dislike of bright light
Meningitis can progress very rapidly and can lead to:
It can even lead to death.
What's septicaemia (blood poisoning)?
Septicaemia (blood poisoning) is a serious, life-threatening infection that gets worse very quickly. The risk of death is higher compared to meningitis.
The signs of cold hands and feet, pale skin, vomiting and being very sleepy or difficult to wake can come on quickly.
How common is type B meningoccocal disease?
MenB is now the cause of most cases of meningococcal disease in Scotland. Although this infection isn't common, MenB is extremely serious and can lead to permanent disability and death. The meningococcal bacteria can also cause local outbreaks in nurseries, schools and universities.
Why should a baby be vaccinated?
MenB infection is most common in babies and young children. This is because their immune systems aren’t yet fully developed to fight off infection. The highest number of cases are in babies around 5 months of age. This is why the first immunisations are offered to babies younger than this and have to be given at 2 and 4 months of age.
This vaccine helps protect babies against MenB, There are other vaccines, like MenC, that protect against some other types of meningococcal infections.
Who is eligible for the vaccine?
The MenB vaccine is routinely offered to all babies at 8, 16 weeks, and 12 to 13 months.
When will a baby be immunised?
The MenB vaccine has been part of the routine childhood immunisation programme in Scotland since 1 September 2015. Your local health board will send you an appointment to bring your child in for their routine childhood immunisations.
Babies will be offered the MenB vaccine when they come in for their other routine immunisations at 8, 16 weeks and 12 to 13 months.
If a baby is due their MenB vaccine, please ask your pharmacist about paracetamol for them. Fever can be expected after any vaccine but is more common when the MenB vaccine is given with the other routine immunisations at 8 and 16 weeks of age. This is why it's recommended that babies gets infant paracetamol when getting these immunisations to prevent and treat fever.
If you’re unsure about anything, or have any questions about the MenB vaccine, contact:
your local health board
the NHS inform helpline
The MenB vaccine is given as an injection and helps to protect babies against meningitis and septicaemia caused by meningococcal bacteria group B.
What vaccine is used?
The Bexsero Meningococcal Group B vaccine for injection in pre-filled syringe is routinely used in Scotland.
How effective is the vaccine?
The MenB vaccine is highly effective against serious infections caused by meningococcal group B bacteria. It's also thought that it's likely to provide some protection against other strains of meningococcal disease, including MenC.
How many doses of the vaccine will a baby need?
A baby will need 3 doses of the MenB vaccine, one at 8 weeks, one at 16 weeks and one booster dose at 12 to 13 months.
How do we know the vaccine is safe?
Before they're allowed to be used, all vaccines are carefully tested for safety and effectiveness. They've been through trials in the laboratory and among volunteers.
The UK is the first country to introduce the MenB vaccine into its routine immunisation schedule for children. The vaccine is already offered to children in the UK with certain medical conditions and has also been used to contain outbreaks of MenB disease. It has been proved to be both safe and effective.
Are there any reasons a baby shouldn't have the vaccine?
The vaccine shouldn't be given to babies who have had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or any of the ingredients of the vaccine.
Also, speak to your nurse or GP about the vaccine if the baby:
has a bleeding disorder (for example haemophilia where the blood doesn’t clot properly)
has had a fit that wasn't associated with fever
Source: NHS Inform
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