Meningococcal disease is a rare but serious condition with young children more at risk. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged under 2 are at even greater risk – about 4 times higher compared with non-Indigenous children. For this reason, the meningococcal B vaccine is now covered under the National Immunisation Program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children under 2 years of age.
From 1 July 2020, the meningococcal B vaccine will be given at the same time as other routine baby vaccinations at 2, 4 and 12 months. An extra dose at 6 months is required for infants who have certain risk conditions.
It is important that all doses are given to ensure your child is protected. Children who missed out can still get their meningococcal B vaccines up until they turn 2. If they receive their first dose before turning 2, they can complete the other doses even after turning 2.
The meningococcal B vaccine is safe and effective, but all medications and vaccines can have side effects. Babies who get the meningococcal B vaccine are more likely to develop a fever, so it is recommended that you give your baby 3 doses of paracetamol with each vaccination:
- Dose 1 – 30 minutes before vaccination or as soon as possible afterwards
- Dose 2 – 6 hours after the first paracetamol dose even if there is no fever
- Dose 3 – 6 hours after the second paracetamol dose even if there is no fever
Talk to your health care worker, doctor or nurse about the vaccine or read Vaccinate to protect your baby against meningococcal B.
See the National Immunisation Program schedule for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples from 1 July 2020.