MenB (meningococcal B) Bexsero Vaccine
We all want to provide the optimum protection for our children. Now, you can do that with the Meningitis B vaccine, called Bexsero, which we provide to all age groups, particularly children under three years old.
What we know about meningitis B and the vaccine
Meningitis B is a very contagious bacterial infection that triggers swelling in the brain and spinal cord – causing these symptoms:
- high fever with cold feet and hands
- headaches and vomiting
Meningitis is very serious. It needs to be treated right away to prevent brain damage and death.
The numbers of cases peaks in infants at around five or six months of age. With early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment, most people make a full recovery. But 1 in 10 die from meningitis B, and 1 in 4 who survive are left with long-term health problems, like deafness, epilepsy, learning disabilities and even amputation.
MenB vaccine protects your child
Meningitis Type B is caused by a very virulent bug called Neisseria Meningitides, which can be lethal or life threatening. Thankfully it is rare.
While other strains of meningitis have vaccines, Bexsero is the first vaccine for Meningitis Type B. It is NOT a live vaccine so it cannot give you meningitis.
The vaccine has been found safe and effective in use with over 8,000 people. Researchers say it provides from 80 to 90 percent protection from the Meningitis B virus.
Your child can get MenB right away
The MenB vaccine is now part of the childhood immunisation scheme, meaning babies will receive the first vaccine at two months old – followed by two further doses.
Infants between three and four months of age should receive it with their routine vaccinations. This vaccination is an intramuscular injection in the outer thigh.
Mild reactions to the vaccine can occur, such as a flu-like illness, or soreness at the site of injection, causing some children to limp for 24-48 hours.
One or more booster injections, depending on the age at first inoculation, is required, along with a further top up at a later age, again depending on the age at first vaccination.
What is the cost?
Each vaccination costs £150.
Chickenpox & shingles vaccinations
Chickenpox is a common, mild illness that most children get, as it is highly contagious. However, for some children and adults, exposure to the varicella-zoster virus (which causes chickenpox) can cause serious complications.
We advise parents and other adults who haven’t had chicken pox to seriously consider getting the chickenpox vaccination.
People who had chickenpox as children are at risk for a disease called shingles. Shingles occurs when the varicella-zoster virus becomes activated in adulthood. Shingles has serious complications – which are preventable with the shingles vaccination.
Our concern about chickenpox
- Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, and infection lasts just a short time.
- The hallmark signs of chickenpox are red, itchy spots that turn into small blisters that crust over.
- Chickenpox is most common in children under age 10, so most adults have immunity.
For some children, the symptoms of chickenpox are so mild they don’t even realise they had chickenpox, so they don’t know they are immune to future infections.
However, children under age 3, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, and adults with compromised immunity are at risk of complications from chickenpox.
Risks of chickenpox
- Pregnant women who have not had chickenpox are at risk of fetal varicella syndrome, in which the fetus develops chickenpox – which can lead to premature delivery.
- If a pregnant woman has been in contact with chickenpox, they should start antiviral treatment immediately.
- A nursing mother may need to discontinue breastfeeding.
More potential complications:
- Secondary infections from scratching the rash; may require hospitalization.
- Encephalitis is a potential complication requiring admission to a hospital. Symptoms include confusion, irritability, drowsiness and vomiting.
- Weakness or inability to walk, severe headache and neck stiffness are also possible features.
- Group A streptococcal infection can cause necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria) or toxic shock syndrome.
- Viral pneumonia which can be fatal in children and adults.
Risks of shingles
Shingles is a painful skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus (which causes chickenpox). Anyone who gets chickenpox can get shingles.
Shingles usually appears on one side of the face or body. Shingles is common in older adults and people who have weak immune systems because of stress, injury, certain medicines, or other reasons.
Most people who get shingles will get better when treated with medicine, and will not get it again. But it is possible to get shingles more than once.
Our advice on chickenpox and shingles vaccinations
Chickenpox vaccination: We advise that pregnant women, as well as certain high-risk children and adults, should get the chickenpox vaccination. This vaccine is not part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule.
We perform a blood test for Varicella IgG to see if a high-risk person is immune. One chickenpox vaccination offers a 95 percent chance of being immune to chickenpox, a further booster after 4 weeks is just about 100% protective.
The recommended two doses of the chickenpox vaccination is estimated to offer 98 percent protection from chickenpox in children and 75 percent protection in adolescents and adults. So it may be possible to develop the infection after vaccination.
Similarly, there is a chance that someone who has received the chickenpox vaccination could develop chickenpox after coming in close contact with a person who has shingles.
Shingles vaccination: We advise that all adults over age 60 should get the shingles vaccine. The shingles vaccine is known as Zostavax.
Varicella vaccination: If you have never had chickenpox, you may avoid getting the virus that causes both chickenpox and later shingles by receiving the varicella vaccine.
Take the first step
Call our office to make an appointment for the vaccination. We’re very flexible, and always work to accommodate your schedule. We realise that life is hectic, so we will make you our priority! You might even be able to get your vaccination on a lunch hour!
What’s the cost?
Chickenpox vaccination: £100 each
Meningitis Type B vaccination: £150 each
Shingles vaccination: £150 each
Flu vaccination: £10