What is meningococcal B?
Meningococcal group B bacteria is a serious cause of life-threatening meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning). Overall, MenB disease is rare but the age group most affected are very young babies.
Meningitis on NHS Choices website
Septicemia on NHS Choices website
How and when the vaccine is given
Since 1 September 2015, all babies born on or after 1 May 2015 are eligible for the MenB vaccine. This vaccine is offered alongside other routine vaccinations at the following ages:
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 12 months
The vaccine is called Bexsero and it's given as an injection in the thigh.
MenB vaccine on the NHS Choices website
Baby / child immunisations
Vaccine safety and side effects
Since the vaccine was licensed, almost a million doses have been given, with no safety concerns identified.
Like all vaccines, the MenB vaccine can cause side effects, but studies suggest they're generally mild and don't last long. The most common side effects are:
- fever (raised temperature)
- tenderness and redness at the injection site
Treating a raised temperature after the vaccine
Your baby is likely to develop a raised temperature within 24 hours of having the vaccine. To reduce the risk of fever, it's recommended you give your baby infant paracetamol just after they have their MenB vaccine.
Your GP will give you an information leaflet about paracetamol at your vaccination appointment. Follow the instructions in the leaflet for the correct dose.
If you're not sure, get advice from your pharmacist, GP or health visitor.
MenB vaccine and paracetamol on GOV.UK website
MenB vaccine side effects on NHS Choices website
Getting the vaccine privately for older children
The MenB vaccine has become available again for private use. If you want to vaccinate your older child (born before 1 May 2015), you will need to arrange with your GP to buy the vaccine privately.