Vaccinations
NHS Choices

Men B vaccine (3rd dose)

A new vaccine to prevent meningitis will be offered to babies as part of the routine NHS childhood vaccination programme from September 1 2015.

The Men B vaccine will be offered to babies aged 2 months, followed by a second dose at 4 months, and a booster at 12-13 months.

There will also be a temporary catch-up programme for babies who are due their 3- and 4-month vaccinations in September 2015, to protect them when they are most at risk from infection.

The Men B vaccine will protect your baby against infection by meningococcal group B bacteria, which can cause meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning), which are serious and potentially fatal illnesses.

Meningitis and septicaemia caused by meningococcal group B bacteria can affect people of any age, but is most common in babies and young children.

The new programme makes the UK the first country in the world to offer a national, routine and publicly funded Men B vaccination programme.

Read Immunisation against meningococcal B disease for infants aged from two months

Which babies should have the Men B vaccine?

The Men B vaccine will be offered to babies alongside their other routine vaccinations at:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 12-13 months

The vaccine has the brand name Bexsero®, and is given as a single injection into the baby's thigh.

The Men B vaccine can be given at the same time as other routine baby vaccinations, such as the 5-in-1 vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine.

Can vaccines overload a baby's immune system?

Your doctor's surgery or clinic will automatically send you an appointment for you to bring your baby for their Men B vaccination alongside their other routine vaccinations. Most surgeries and health centres run special immunisation or baby clinics. If you can't get to the clinic, contact the surgery to make another appointment.

Find out when your baby should have the Men B vaccine.

Men B vaccine safety

Like all vaccines, the Men B vaccine can cause side effects, but studies suggest they are generally mild and don't last long.

Almost 8,000 people, including more than 5,000 babies and toddlers, have had the new Men B vaccine during clinical trials to test its safety.

Since the vaccine was licensed, almost a million doses have been given, with no safety concerns identified.

Babies given the Men B vaccine alongside their other routine vaccinations at two and four months are likely to develop fever within the first 24 hours after vaccination.

Giving your baby infant strength liquid paracetamol will reduce the risk of fever after vaccination. Your nurse will give you more information about paracetamol at your vaccination appointment.

Other common side effects include irritability and redness and tenderness at the injection site. The liquid paracetamol will also help with these symptoms.

Read more about possible Men B vaccine side effects.

How the Men B vaccine works

The Men B vaccine is made from three major proteins found on the surface of most meningococcal bacteria, combined with the outer membrane of one Men B strain. Together, these constituents stimulate the immune system to protect against future exposures to meningococcal bacteria.

Read more about vaccine ingredients.

Meningitis B is a killer

Meningococcal group B bacteria is a serious cause of life-threatening infections, including meningitis and blood poisoning, worldwide and the leading infectious killer of babies and young children in the UK.

There are 12 known groups of meningococcal bacteria, and group B (Men B) is responsible for about 90% of meningococcal infections in the UK.

Meningococcal infections tend to come in bursts. In the past 20 years, between 500 and 1,700 people every year, mainly babies and young children, have suffered from Men B disease, with around 1 in 10 dying from the infection. Many of those who survive suffer terrible permanent disability, such as amputation, brain damage and epilepsy.

Different types of meningitis vaccines

There are two vaccines against the other common strains of meningococcal disease – the Men ACWY vaccine (against meningococcal groups A, C, W and Y) which is offered on the N|HS to teenagers and first-time students and the Men C vaccine (against meningococcal group C) for babies.

Since the Men C vaccine was introduced into the NHS's national childhood vaccination programme in 1999, the disease has been virtually eliminated in the UK. Nowadays, there are just a handful of Men C cases each year, mainly in older, unvaccinated adults.

Read about the benefits of childhood vaccinations.

Leaflets

Click here to see all vaccination leaflets.


Last Updated: 01/04/2017 09:00:00