Meningitis B is an aggressive illness which can rapidly lead to death if not identified or treated early. Vaccines are the only way to prevent meningitis and have almost eliminated some types of meningitis. A new vaccine is now available to help protect your children.
Meningococcal infection is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis, an infection of the lining the brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal infection can also cause a serious bacterial infection of the blood.
Bacterial meningitis can be caused by several different bacteria. In most of the world, especially in the UK, Ireland, and Australia, meningitis B is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis. It is most common in children under 5 years of age; however there is a secondary peak in adolescence. Babies under 5 months of age are most at risk.
Meningitis B can have serious consequences if not treated early. Even in those that are treated early, a high number will be left with long term problems such as hearing loss, seizures, learning difficulties and, if they have a bloodstream infection, it can lead to loss of limbs.
The new meningitis vaccine has been developed by Bexsero and is available in our clinic. In the UK, the new vaccine will be available free of charge to all babies born from September 2015. Due to the cost of the vaccine to the NHS, it will not be routinely offered yet to older children, however it is available privately for all children.
Clinical trials were tested on around 8,000 children and adults. The studies have shown it has the same side effect profile as most of the other childhood vaccinations such as mild fever or swelling, irritability, discomfort and rashes. By the end of 2013, over 640,000 doses have been administered to adults and children over 19 countries which have not shown up any serious adverse effects.
In the UK schedule, the first dose will be offered to all babies when they are 2 months old, followed by 2 further doses. There is a catch up schedule for all older children.
If you would like your child to be vaccinated against Meningitis B, please contact the clinic here and make an appointment. Our doctors will be happy to discuss the vaccine in more detail and give you a schedule of doses required, dependent on your child’s age.