Why Are Meningococcal Vaccines Recommended
Meningococcal disease is caused by a type of bacteria. It can lead to an infection of the bloodstream or meningitis, or both, and can be life-threatening if not quickly treated. The MenACWY vaccine is very effective at protecting against four strains of the bacteria, while the MenB vaccine protects against a fifth strain.
Improving How Vaccines Are Offered In Scotland
To improve how vaccinations are offered to you or your child, you may notice:
- you’re invited to a new location to receive your immunisations instead of your GP practice
- the health professional giving your immunisations changes
You’ll still receive clear information about the location, date and time of your appointment.
What Might My Child Experience After Immunization
The side effects your child may have after immunization depend on which vaccine they received. To find this information, click on the vaccine name in the Routine Immunization Schedule or from the list of Vaccine Information Sheets.
It is rare to have a serious side effect. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.
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Immunisations At 1 Year Of Age
Your child will need the combined Hib/MenC vaccine, PCV, and the MenB vaccine at 1 year of age to boost their protection against Haemophilus influenzae type b, meningococcal B and pneumococcal infections. These vaccines will help to protect your child through early childhood.
Your child will also have their first dose of MMR and MenC vaccine at this time to protect against measles, mumps and rubella and meningococcal C. Your child will need a second dose of MMR vaccine before starting school.
Measles Mumps And Rubella Vaccination
- 2-dose series at 1215 months, 46 years
- Dose 2 may be administered as early as 4 weeks after dose 1.
- Unvaccinated children and adolescents: 2-dose series at least 4 weeks apart
- The maximum age for use of MMRV is 12 years.
- Infants age 611 months: 1 dose before departure revaccinate with 2-dose series at age 1215 months and dose 2 as early as 4 weeks later.
- Unvaccinated children age 12 months or older: 2-dose series at least 4 weeks apart before departure
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What Happens After The Immunization
Your child might have a fever, soreness, and some swelling and redness at the injection area. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain or fever and to find out the right dose.
A warm, damp cloth or a heating pad on the injection site may help reduce soreness, as can moving or using the arm.
Who’s Eligible For The Vaccine
The MenB vaccine is part of the routine childhood immunisation programme in Scotland since 1 September 2015. You’ll be sent an appointment to bring your child in for their routine childhood immunisations.
Babies born on or after 1 July 2015 will be offered the MenB vaccine when they come in for their other routine immunisations at 8, 16 weeks and 12 to 13 months.
The MenB vaccine will be given at the same time as the other routine immunisations your baby will be due at these times.
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Your Baby Is Ill On The Day Of The Appointment
If your baby has a minor illness without a fever, such as a cold, they should have their immunisations as normal. If your baby is ill with a fever, put off the immunisation until they have recovered. This is to avoid the fever being associated with the vaccine, or the vaccine increasing the fever your child already has.
If your baby:
- has a bleeding disorder
- has had a fit not associated with fever
Speak to your doctor, practice nurse or health visitor before your child has any immunisation.
How To Get The Menb Vaccine
Your GP surgery or clinic will send you an appointment for your baby to have their MenB vaccination along with their other routine vaccinations.
Most surgeries and health centres run special immunisation or baby clinics.
If you cannot get to the clinic, contact the surgery to make another appointment.
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Who Is At Risk For Meningitis
- While anyone can get meningococcal disease, infants, children, teens and young adults are at increased risk and are the groups most commonly diagnosed with meningitis. Learn more about the meningitis vaccine for infants, children, teens and young adults.
- Large groups of people in community settings are at increased risk. This is why recommendations and requirements for meningococcal vaccine focus on teens and young adults who are more likely to be exposed in college, school or camp settings. Learn more about the meningitis vaccine for college students.
- People with certain medical conditions and weakened immune systems are often at increased risk of meningococcal disease. Learn more about the meningitis vaccine for those with certain medical conditions.
- Travelers to certain parts of the world are at increased risk, especially those traveling to the meningitis belt in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly during the dry season. Learn more about the meningitis vaccine for travelers.
Ni Babies To Get Meningitis B Vaccine
The Meningitis B vaccine is to be given to newborn babies in Northern Ireland.
The vaccine will be given to babies at two, four and 12 months old as part of routine immunisations.
Meningitis B is a bacterial infection that usually affects children under the age of one. It can cause severe brain damage and is fatal in one in 10 cases.
Stormont Health Minister Simon Hamilton said the vaccine’s introduction was “an historic step forward in fighting this devastating disease”.
“I would encourage the parents of every eligible baby to protect their child with this vaccine,” he said.
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Haemophilus Influenzae Type B Vaccine
Before a vaccine became available for it, Haemophilus influenzae type b was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis. Hib is much less common today due to vaccinations.
Doctors usually administer the Hib vaccine at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. They will administer it again between the ages of 12 and 15 months.
The dosing regimen depends on the brand of vaccine an infant receives.
Doctors will give this vaccine either alone or as part of a combination vaccine.
What Is Meningococcal Disease
Meningococcal disease can refer to any illness caused by a type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus . Meningococcal disease is not very common in the United States, but teens and young adults are at increased risk.
The two most common types of infections are
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Rare Side Effects Of Meningococcal Immunisation
There is a very small risk of a serious allergic reaction to any vaccine. This is why you are advised to stay at the clinic or medical surgery for at least 15 minutes following immunisation in case further treatment is required.
If any other reactions are severe and persistent, or if you are worried, contact your doctor for further information.
What Is The Meningococcus
The meningococcus is a germ that can cause meningitis and blood infection . It can also cause other infections – for example, pneumonia, eye infection , joint infection and inflammation of the heart . It most commonly causes infections in babies under the age of 1 year. It can also cause infections in those aged 1-5 years and those aged 15-19 years.
Some of these infections are very serious and can be fatal if not treated quickly. There are different groups of meningococcal bacteria:
- Groups B, C and, more recently, W are the common strains in the UK. Most cases of bacterial meningitis in the UK are caused by group B. Most of the rest are caused by group C . Infection caused by group W has increased in the UK in recent years.
- Group A is rare in the UK but more common in certain parts of the world – in particular, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Saudi Arabia.
- Groups Y, 29E and Z are rare in the UK but group W has been the cause of several recent outbreaks in different parts of the world, including the UK.
Infection with the meningococcus can affect anyone but those most at risk are children aged under 5 years , teenagers and young adults under the age of 25.
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Safety Checks Before Immunization
At the appointments for your childs MenconC vaccine, your nurse will talk to you about your childs health history before giving your child any vaccines. This will include questions about any medicines your child is taking, health conditions your child has or is experiencing, as well as any allergies your child may have. Your nurse will guide you on what is safe for your child, based on your childs health history.
When your nurse talks to you about your childs health history, it is important that you inform your nurse if your child:
- is sick or has a fever greater than 38.5 C
- has allergies to any part of the vaccine
- is allergic to any foods, drugs, bee stings, etc.
- has a weakened immune system
- has had an allergic reaction to this or other vaccines in the past
Your nurse will guide you on what is safe for your child, based on your childs health history.
If you have additional questions about the in-school immunization, you can dial for Health Link or contact the Public Health Nurse who provides immunizations in your school at the number included in the information package.
PLEASE NOTE: Your child should NOT get the vaccine if he/she has had a severe allergic reaction to this vaccine in the past.
Problems That Could Happen After Getting Any Injected Vaccine
- People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting, and injuries caused by a fall. Tell the provider if you or your child feel dizzy, have vision changes, or have ringing in the ears.
- As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
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When’s My Baby Going To Be Immunised
Your baby will be offered the MenB vaccine at 8 weeks, 16 weeks and a booster dose at 12 to 13 months. Your local NHS Health Board will contact you to let you know about their arrangements for your baby’s routine childhood immunisations.
Most practices and health centres run special immunisation baby clinics. If you cant get to the clinic, contact the practice or health centre to make another appointment.
If This Is A Brand New Vaccine How Do We Know Its Safe
Before they’re allowed to be used, all vaccines are carefully tested for safety and effectiveness. They’ve been through up to 10 years of trials in the laboratory and among volunteers.
The UK is the first country to introduce the MenB vaccine into its routine immunisation schedule for children. The vaccine is already offered to children in the UK with certain medical conditions and has also been used to contain outbreaks of MenB disease, where it proved to be both safe and effective. Over 1 million doses have already been given in 19 countries worldwide.
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Is It Too Late To Get Vaccinated
The answer to this question isnt so clear-cut. If you have an unvaccinated teen headed off to college, there is still time for them to get their vaccines. Your child may also need another shot if they had the vaccine as a preteen. Meningitis vaccines are thought to only last for about five years, according to the Center for Young Womens Health.
Adults can also get the meningitis vaccine if their doctors recommend it. Certain situations can warrant the use of meningitis vaccinations. Examples include spleen removal, going to military camp, or traveling overseas.
Travel Advice For Children
If your child is going abroad, make sure their routine immunisations are up to date. Your child may also need extra immunisations and you may also need to take other precautions.
Contact your doctors surgery or a travel clinic well in advance for up-to-date information on the immunisations your child may need.
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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Meningococcal Vaccines
Some of the most common side effects are swelling, redness, and pain at the site of the injection, along with headache, fever, or tiredness. Serious problems, such as allergic reactions, are rare.
The meningococcal vaccines contains only a small piece of the germ, so it can’t cause meningococcal disease.
Diagnosis Of Meningitis In Babies
Tests can confirm the diagnosis of meningitis and determine what organism is causing it. Tests include:
- Blood cultures. Blood removed from your babys vein is spread on special plates that bacteria, viruses, or a fungus grows well on. If something grows, thats probably the cause of the meningitis.
- Blood tests. Some of the blood removed will be analyzed in a lab for signs of infection.
- Lumbar puncture. This test isalso called a spinal tap. Some of the fluid that surrounds your babys brain and spinal cord is removed and tested. Its also put on special plates to see if anything grows.
- CT scan. Your doctor may get a CT scan of your babys head to see if theres a pocket of infection, called an abscess.
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How Can I Protect My Child
There are three kinds of meningococcal vaccine available in Canada. Each vaccine provides different protection:
- Meningococcal C vaccine is usually given to babies and young children. It protects against type C of the meningococcus germ, which used to be very common before this vaccine was available.
- MCV-4 protects against 4 types of the meningococcal germ . This vaccine is usually only given to people at higher risk of getting meningococcal disease . In some provinces it is given to all teenagers.
- Meningococcal B vaccine protects children against type B. This vaccine is not given routinely but is usually given to children at higher risk of getting meningococcal disease.
Your doctor will know which vaccine is best for your child, and at what age.
Watch Out For Meningitis And Septicaemia
Both meningitis and septicaemia are very serious. It is important that you recognise the signs and symptoms and know what to do if you see them. Early symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia may be similar to a cold or flu .
However, people with meningitis or septicaemia can become seriously ill within hours, so it is important to act fast.
Meningitis is an infection of the lining of the brain. Meningitis can be caused by several types of bacteria including pneumococcus, meningococcus and Haemophilus influenzae or by viruses.
The bacteria that cause meningitis and septicaemia , can also cause pericarditis and arthritis and other serious infections.
In babies, the main symptoms of meningitis may include:
- a high-pitched, moaning cry
- being irritable when picked up
- a bulging fontanelle
- feeling drowsy and not responding to you, or being difficult to wake
- being floppy and having no energy
- stiff with jerky movements
- refusing feeds and vomiting
- having skin that is pale, blotchy or turning blue
- a fever
- a fever
- diarrhoea and stomach cramps
The glass test
Press the side of a clear drinking glass firmly against the rash so you can see if the rash fades and loses colour under pressure. If it doesnt change colour, contact your doctor immediately.
The following charities provide information, advice and support:
Meningitis Research Foundation
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Variations From The Vaccine Data Sheets
The MenACWY-D data sheet states that the vaccine is indicated for use in individuals aged 9 months to 55 years. The Ministry of Health recommends that this vaccine can be used in adults aged over 55 years.
The data sheet states that MenACWY-D should be given as a single dose for individuals aged 2 years and older. The Ministry of Health recommends that two doses are given to individuals at high risk of meningococcal disease , with booster doses every five years. If the first MenACWY-D dose was given before age 7 years, give a booster after three years then five-yearly.
A history of GBS is listed as a precaution in the MenACWY-D data sheet. However, there is no evidence of an association between meningococcal conjugate vaccines and GBS . The Ministry of Health advises that, if indicated, MenACWY-D may be administered to individuals with a history of GBS.
The MenC data sheet states that the first dose of vaccine is not be given earlier than age 8 weeks. However, the Ministry of Health recommends that MenC may be given from age 6 weeks to infants at high risk of meningococcal disease .
The 4CMenB data sheet states that the vaccine is indicated from age 2 months or older. However, the Ministry of Health recommends that 4CMenB can be given from age 6 weeks to infants at high risk of meningococcal disease .
Are You Still At Risk Of Meningitis After The Immunisation
Yes. However, the MenC vaccine has greatly reduced the number of cases of meningitis and blood infection since it was introduced in 1999 and the MenB vaccine is expected to be as effective.
Note: other groups of meningococcus, and other germs can still cause meningitis.
You should get medical help immediately if you suspect that your child, or someone you know, has meningitis or septicaemia. The earlier the treatment of meningitis or septicaemia, the better the chance of recovery and preventing complications or death. See the separate leaflet called Meningitis. See also the separate leaflets called and Meningitis Symptoms Checklist for more details about the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia.
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