National childhood immunisation programme boosted by MenB vaccine

01 September 2015

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A new vaccine against Meningitis B is being given to children across England from today (1 September) after being added to the NHS Childhood Immunisation Programme.

Oxford Martin School academics including Professor Andrew Pollard were involved in the research that underpinned the development of the MenB vaccine, Bexsero, which is being manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.

Meningococcal group B disease can cause meningitis (an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord) and septicaemia (blood poisoning) which are serious and potentially fatal illnesses.

Babies will be offered the MenB vaccine with the other routine vaccinations at two months, four months and 12-13 months of age. Vaccinating babies at these times helps protect them when they are most at risk of developing MenB disease. Infants under one year of age are most at risk of MenB and the number of cases peak at around five or six months of age.

Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison said: “This is a landmark moment. Men B can be truly devastating and we know the suffering it can cause to families. Now, in our country, every new baby can get this free vaccine to protect them from this terrible disease.”