New meningitis jab campaign launched by Public Health England

A new meningitis B vaccine campaign by will be launched by Public Health England on 1 September.

Meningitis is a common cause of acquired brain injury, particularly in infants under five.  A new meningitis B vaccine will be launched which might prevent 4,000 cases of meningococcal disease in children under five in the UK. A campaign for the new jab will be launched by Public Health England with advice to parents to give babies analgesic to ward off high temperatures after jab. The advice states that giving analgesic such as paracetamol to babies after they have been given the new meningitis B vaccine will help to avoid the fever which follows the injection. The campaign stresses that the fever would be short-lived in most infants and that this side effect would by far be outweighed by the protection that the vaccine will offer against meningitis and septicaemia. The public health minister, Jane Ellison called the introduction of the immunisation a landmark moment. “Meningitis B can be truly devastating and we know the suffering it can cause to families,” she said. “Now, in our country, every new baby can get this free vaccine to protect them from this terrible disease.” Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said that “the paracetamol will also reduce the chance of babies being irritable or suffering discomfort [such as pain at the site of the injection] following vaccination.” Christopher Head, chief executive of Meningitis Research Foundation, said: “We are delighted the MenB vaccine has been introduced as it has been at the top of this charity’s agenda for many years. We hope this vaccine will save many lives and spare countless families the trauma of seeing a loved one die or become seriously disabled because of MenB." He did, however, stress that “there are still some forms of the disease which are not covered by vaccines and so it is vital that people are still aware of the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia.” These include a blotchy rash, aversion to bright lights, a high fever with cold hands and feet, vomiting and refusal to eat, agitation, drowsiness or being floppy or unresponsive, grunting or breathing rapidly, or having an unusual high-pitched or moaning cry.
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