There has been recent news stemming from the UK about the devastating loss of young lives from the dreaded disease Meningococcal B. There has been a huge push over there and in Australia to get this vaccine on the National Immunisation Plan (NIP). So it is free for everyone.
Meningitis Centre Australia has been flooded with calls and emails from people wanting to know more about the vaccine and where they can get it from, and to you, we say thank you for taking an interest and sharing our message.
So we have compiled a fact sheet about the vaccine. How effective it is, how much it costs (approximately), where you can get it from and what you can do to push for the vaccine to get on the NIP.
Bexsero Meningococcal B Vaccine*
Children aged under the age of 5 years, particularly infants aged less than 1 year old, have the highest incidence of invasive meningococcal B disease. A lower, secondary peak in incidence is evident in late adolescence and early adulthood.
Bexsero®(4CMenB) is a vaccine that induces specific bactericidal antibodies against a range of MenB strains. In Australia, based on laboratory tests, about 76% of MenB strains are predicted to be covered by this vaccine, but clinical effectiveness has not yet been shown.
MenB cannot be prevented by the other meningococcal vaccines currently available in Australia, such as the meningococcal C conjugate and quadrivalent (A, C, W135, Y) vaccines, because they target other meningococcal serogroups.
Based on their higher disease risk, the Men B Bexsero vaccine is recommended for these groups:
•Infants and young children, particularly those aged less than 24 months.
•Adolescents aged 15 to 19 years
•Children and adults with medical conditions that place them at a high risk
•Laboratory personnel who frequently handle Neisseria meningitidis
For infants aged less than 6 months, 3 primary doses of 4CMenB plus a booster at age 12 months are recommended. Fewer doses are required for older age groups.
Duration of immunity is not yet known and should be discussed with your Doctor.
The vaccine costs approximately between $500- $250 for a child aged between 6 weeks of age to 11 years and up ask your GP about its availability.
The side effects are usually mild to high fevers after taking this injection but is dependent on the individual's reaction.
If you would like to support the Men B vaccine getting on the National Immunisation Plan in Australia please sign our petition
Written by Lisa D'Cruz - Meningitis Centre Australia.
* Information from ATAGI Australian Government Department of Health