The MenB vaccine used is called Bexsero and is given to protect your baby against infection by meningococcal group B bacteria, which are responsible for more than 90% of meningococcal infections in young children. Meningococcal infections can be very serious, causing meningitis and sepsis (blood poisoning), which can result in severe brain damage, amputations and even death.
When should babies have MenB vaccine?
The MenB vaccine is recommended for babies aged 8 weeks, 16 weeks and 1 year as part of your baby’s routine childhood vaccination programme..
How is the vaccine given?
The vaccine is given as a single injection into your baby’s thigh.
How well does the vaccine work?
The MenB vaccine works produces very good immunity to diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Hib, polio and hepatitis B infections.
Is the vaccine safe?
The MenB vaccine has a good safety record. Like all vaccines, the MenB vaccine can cause side effects; many babies have no side effects at all. Studies indicate that side effects, if any, are generally mild and do not last long.
Common side effects
The most common side effect seen with the MenB vaccine when it is given alongside other vaccinations is a high temperature (fever). It is advisable to give your baby liquid paracetamol following vaccination to reduce the risk of fever. Your child health nurse will give you more information about paracetamol at your vaccination appointment. Other common side effects include:
- pain, swelling or redness at the injection site
- vomiting and/or diarrhoea
- crying and irritability
Can the MenB vaccine be given at the same time as other vaccines?
The MenB vaccine can be given at the same time as other routine baby vaccinations, such as the 6-in-1 vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine.
Which babies should not have the MenB vaccine?
There are very few babies who cannot have the MenB vaccine. These include babies who:
- have had an allergic or anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose of the MenB vaccine or any of the substances in it
- are ill with a fever; when vaccination should be delayed until they have recovered. Babies who have a minor illness without a fever, such as a cold, can have the vaccination as normal
What if your baby misses the MenB vaccination appointment?
If your baby misses the vaccination appointment, or if vaccination was delayed, please make a new appointment with your child health nurse as soon as possible. Babies who missed their first MenB vaccination at 8 weeks of age can start later. Babes who received some of their MenB vaccinations but are not fully up to date with the schedule can catch up on any vaccinations they may have missed previously.