Meningitis B Vaccination Service

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Pharmacies across the UK

Over 70 years' pharmacy experience

This vaccination helps protect against meningococcal group B bacteria.

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is a serious infection which causes inflammation in the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. These membranes are known as meninges.

Although meningitis can affect anyone, it is most common in babies, children and young adults. If it isn’t treated quickly, it can be very serious. Most people will make a good recovery, but some may experience severe after effects. It can also lead to life-threatening blood poisoning, known as septicemia, which can cause permanent damage to the brain and nerves.

There are many causes of meningitis, but it is usually caused by bacteria and viruses. Meningococcal bacteria are the most frequent cause of meningitis in the UK. There are five types of meningococcal bacteria, of which group B is the most common.

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Who is at risk of catching meningitis?

Anyone can catch meningitis, although it is more common among babies, children and young adults.

Around 10% of the population have meningococcal bacteria living harmlessly in the back of their throat. These bacteria can be passed between people by coughing, sneezing or kissing. When these bacteria enter the bloodstream, they can cause serious illness.

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What are the symptoms of meningitis?

Each case of meningitis is different. Not all symptoms appear for everyone, and there’s no specific order. Symptoms of meningitis include:

  • Severe headache
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • A stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions or seizures 

Symptoms of septicemia include:

  • A high temperature (over 38°C)
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Breathing quickly
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • A red or purple rash that doesn’t fade under pressure

Is there a free vaccine?

In September 2015, the NHS added the meningitis B vaccine to their childhood vaccination programme. Children born after then receive a vaccination at 8 weeks, 16 weeks, and when they turn one. These early vaccinations protect babies when they are at greatest risk.

However, some people may wish to protect themselves or their children, but fall outside of this age range. For these people, we offer a private Meningitis B Vaccination Service. This does not replace the free NHS Meningitis ACWY vaccination that young people are entitled to.

Who is the meningitis B vaccination service suitable for?

The service may be suitable for you or your child if the patient:

  • Is aged 2-50 years old inclusive
  • Hasn’t previously had the vaccine
  • Hasn’t had an allergic reaction to a vaccine before
  • Doesn’t have a fever on the day of the appointment

Patients aged 2-10 will receive two doses of the vaccine:

  • One at their first appointment
  • One after at least two months

Patients aged 11-50 will receive two doses of the vaccine:

  • One at their first appointment
  • One after at least one month

How much does it cost?

The meningitis B vaccination costs £110 per dose. A full course requires two doses.

Vaccinations are subject to stock levels and the professional discretion of the pharmacist.