All babies in England are to be offered a vaccine to combat meningitis B from September, the the Department of Health has confirmed.
The Meningitis B vaccine, called Bexsero, will be given to babies at two months, four months and 12 months old to protect against meningitis and septicaemia caused by the meningococcal B (MenB) bacteria.
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Confirmation of the vaccination programme comes after negotiations between the Government and drugs giant GSK over the cost of the new baby vaccine were finally resolved in March.
The vaccine will be offered alongside other routine infant vaccines through the NHS childhood immunisation programme, the Department of Health and Scottish Government said.
The Independent reports:
Teenagers at risk from meningococcal W (MenW) will benefit from a new MenACWY vaccine available to all 17 to 18-year-olds in England from August.
The Government’s vaccine advisers, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), called for the new jab to be given to teenagers after cases of MenW in England rose from just 22 in 2009 to 117 in 2014.
All babies aged two months will be offered the MenB vaccine, with a second dose at four months and a booster at 12 months. Babies due their three- or four-month vaccinations in September can have a “catch-up programme” at a time when they are most at risk of MenB infection.
Teenagers in year 13 of school will be offered the combined MenACWY vaccine, as will students aged between 19 and 25. From spring 2016 there will be a school-based MenACWY vaccination programme to replace the existing MenC-only vaccine given to pupils in years 9 and 10.
Scotland and Wales are planning a MenB vaccination programme, and are likely to act on MenW, as well.