All Babies In England & Scotland To Be Offered Meningitis Vaccine From September

21 June 2015

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The government have today announced that from September this year all babies will be offered vaccinations for meningitis B, making the UK the first country in the world to have a national vaccination programme for the disease.

This will cover all newborns in England and Scotland, with this vaccine being administered in three stages with the first at 2 months of age. The Bexsero MenB vaccine was recommended by health experts a year ago, and the devolved governments of Northern Ireland and Wales are also considering adding the vaccine to their newborn programme.

The new meningitis B vaccine is said to be effective against 90% off of the bacterial strains in the UK, so could help save a large number of lives. It mainly affects babies under the age of 1 and is also common in under 5's. At present around 1200 people get meningitis every year, with around 1 in 10 dying as a result, most of those babies and young children.

Although this vaccine is a big step forward in protecting the health of babies and young children the head of Meningitis Now has warned of the importance of recognising the symptoms, and of being aware that some strains of the disease still have no vaccine:

We're delighted that this milestone in the journey to introduce these vaccines and protect our babies and young people from the devastation meningitis causes has been reached. These measures will start to save lives straight away and for years to come. It's vital to learn the signs and symptoms, stay vigilant and seek immediate medical help if you suspect the disease.

Some of the symptoms of meningitis include a high fever with cold hands and feet, confusion, vomiting and headaches. If caught early enough most children will make a full recovery with antibiotic treatment but about one in four of those who survive is left with long-term problems, such as amputation, deafness, epilepsy and learning difficulties.

There is a further set of vaccinations being offered to 17 and 18 year olds, and to new students starting university, as a combined vaccine to protect against meningitis strains A,C,W and Y from August this year.

EDIT: For lots more information about the details about this new vaccination programme click here for the FAQ's on the Meningitis Now website.

10 comments

  • Mummyc15
    hello im a little confused will my children get this my oldest will be 10 my middle will be 3 and my younger child will be 6months
  • lauren76
    What about the babies and toddler born before this September, do they not matter???
  • linz6980
    What about babies that will be 8/9 months old in sept? Will they be offered the meningitis b injections?
  • Cbear1410
    im confused too. Will my daughter be eligible for this she will be 17 months in this September? Thanks X
  • Nj32
    Surely if it was recommended a year ago then all babies born since then or in the 'most at risk' ages should be vaccinated?
  • Lisa Hayes EDITOR
    hello im a little confused will my children get this my oldest will be 10 my middle will be 3 and my younger child will be 6months
    Hello, from what I have read I don't think they will get the new vaccinations in September. At present the plan is to introduce it as part of the newborn vaccination programme. If you click on the blue link at the bottom of the article it will direct you to the Meningitis Now website, and they seem to have the most information. For your youngest I would ask their doctor or health visitor.
  • Lisa Hayes EDITOR
    What about babies that will be 8/9 months old in sept? Will they be offered the meningitis b injections?
    Hello Linz, from what has been announced it will be offered to newborns from September as part of the newborn immunisation programme, as the first dose is given at 2 months of age. Some have commented on our Facebook page that you can pay privately for children who have missed out on this, but you would need to talk to your doctor or health visitor about this.
  • Lisa Hayes EDITOR
    im confused too. Will my daughter be eligible for this she will be 17 months in this September? Thanks X
    Hello, From what was announced it is only newborns who will be offered the new vaccination, as it is being added to the Newborn Vaccination Programme with the first dose being given at 2 months of age. Some parents have been asking about getting the vaccination done privately, but if you have any concerns or questions the best person to check with is your child's doctor or health visitor. The blue link at the bottom of the article will take you to the Meningitis Now website which has a lot of helpful information about the new vaccine. I hope that helps. :)
  • Jojonicole
    I live in scotland and contacted my midwife to ask how i would go about getting my son this vaccination. He is 3 so not eligible however i am willing to pay as feel its very important. I contacted my gp to see if they could order this for me and administer abd i woyld pay the cost price ie £60 however this request was refused. I would need to go to a private gp but there are none in the area i live. I am aware its costs £125 for each injection which i would pay hiwever not sure whete to go as i know thete are specific guidelines about storage etc. Gp could not advise me further. Does anyone know how i would fibd a private gp? Thanks joanne
  • Maaaaa
    We decided to go private, it's not cheap but I was able to use some savings (I appreciate not everyone will be able to do that). I suspect the NHS has a cut off is because the vaccine requires 2/3 doses for full efficacy and because most (but not all) of this fatal type of menigitis affects babies under 1. If they start vaccinating at 6 or 8 months the baby will be outwith what is the "cost effective" risk period. As the article says though, it actually affects many babies and children up to the age if 5yrs and some beyond that, so I was able/lucky enough to squeeze it into my budget.

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