Make your social life healthier

Calling all teenagers and new university students. Statistics show that teenagers and new university students are at a significant higher risk of contracting the potentially life-threatening meningococcal B infection. All that socialising increases your chances of coming into contact with meningococcal bacteria commonly found in the noses and throats of the people you meet.

In the UK every year there are approximately 1,500 reported cases of meningococcal disease, making it the most common cause of bacterial meningitis.

The group B strain has accounted for over 80% of laboratory-confirmed cases in the last century. The meningitis B vaccination could provide protection for up 88% of infection strains in England and Wales.

You will need two to four doses, depending on your age. Most children aged 2 years and over will need two doses.

The good news is, protection has never been easier. Health Plus Pharmacy make the meningitis B vaccination convenient and accessible for all the community in Cardiff and Pontypool. Book an appointment with a pharmacist to explore your treatment options.

About the Meningitis B vaccine

Price: £109 per dose

Doses per course: 2-3

Price per course: £218 - £327

Course: The course consists of two to four doses, depending on your age.

Boosters: Children over 2 and adults won’t need a booster. Young children under two may need one or two boosters.

How it is given: The meningitis B vaccine is given as an injection.

Side effects: Possible side effects include fever, digestive problems and redness and swelling at the injection site.

Children: Children can get vaccinated from the age of two months.

Additional precautions: Seek medical attention immediately if you or anyone you know experiences meningitis symptoms. Early treatment is vital to prevent severe complications. The meningitis b vaccine does not protect against meningitis A,C,W and Y.

Before the appointment: If you are bringing a young child under two years old, you may wish to bring some paracetamol for them to take after they have had the vaccine to prevent fever.

What is Meningitis B?

Although it is uncommon, meningitis B (MenB) or meningococcal B) is a serious infection. It is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis group B, which can cause an infection of the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It can also cause septicemia, a serious infection of the bloodstream.

Meningococcal meningitis is caused by bacteria easily passed from person to person by coughing, sneezing and intimately kissing. If the bacteria passes into the bloodstream it quickly multiplies and releases toxins that can cause widespread damage to the body

Blood vessels are damaged preventing the vital flow of oxygen to all organs of the body. Damage to the lining of the brain can lead to the infection of the cerebrospinal fluid and the inflammation and pressure around the brain can lead to nerve damage.

Who is at risk?

The meningitis bacteria can infect anyone, but reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that there are higher rates among teens/young adults 16–23 years of age. Cases of meningitis B in teens and young adults peaked around 18–20 years of age.

How does it work?

Early symptoms can be hard to distinguish because they can be similar to those of the flu. However, meningitis B can progress quickly and symptoms may include, among others:

  • Severe headache
  • Sudden high fever
  • Stiff neck

Additional symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Rapid breathing    
  • Limb, joint, and muscle pain
  • Sleepiness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Shivering
  • Confusion
  • Dark purple rash (typically on the torso, arms, or legs)
  • Convulsions

Those who have these symptoms, or have been in close contact with someone who has meningitis B, should contact their local Heath Plus Pharmacy immediately.

How is meningitis B treated?

Bacterial meningitis can be treated with an antibiotic. It is vital to seek early treatment to prevent possible irreparable damage to the brain and further severe symptoms.

The meningitis B vaccination does not provide cover for types A,C,W and Y but these can be administered by a separate Meningitis ACWY vaccination in your local Health Plus Pharmacy in Cardiff and Llandaff.

If you think that you, or someone you know, is displaying symptoms of meningitis seek medical help immediately at your nearest hospital.

Side effects

The vaccination is suitable for patients aged between 2 months and 50 years old. It does not contain any live organisms.  In some there may be soreness at the site of the injection for 1-2 days after.

Others have reported experiencing a high temperature as a result of being vaccinated, but these side effects are short term and should pass swiftly.

How you can get meningitis B?

The bacteria that cause meningitis B live within the nose and throat and can be spread through close contact such as coughing, kissing or sneezing.

Certain everyday behaviours can increase the risk of getting meningitis B, particularly for teens and young adults, including:

  • Living in close quarters
  • Sharing drinks, eating utensils and smoking devices
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Kissing
  • Smoking

What happens if you get meningitis B?

Meningitis B can strike otherwise healthy people without warning and can progress quickly and be potentially fatal, sometimes within 24 hours. Up to 1 in 5 survivors will have long-term consequences, including brain damage, hearing loss and loss of limbs.

What is the meningitis B vaccine for?

The meningitis B vaccine can help protect against meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B. A different meningococcal vaccine is available that can help protect against serogroups A, C, W, and Y.

How effective is the meningitis B vaccine?

The meningitis B vaccine is highly effective against serious infections caused by meningococcal group B bacteria. It’s also thought that it’s likely to provide some protection against other strains of meningococcal disease, including meningitis C (MenC).

How do we know the meningitis B vaccine is safe?

Before they’re allowed to be used, all vaccines are carefully tested for safety and effectiveness. They’ve been through trials in the laboratory and among volunteers.

The UK is the first country to introduce the meningitis B vaccine into its routine immunisation schedule for children. The vaccine is already offered to children in the UK with certain medical conditions and has also been used to contain outbreaks of MenB disease. It has been proved to be both safe and effective.

How long does it take to have a Meningitis B vaccines?

The in-store consultation and meningitis B vaccination will take about 25 minutes. You will receive the first dose of the meningitis B vaccination (if suitable) after a pharmacist consultation. Then you will return for the second dose of the meningitis B vaccination at a minimum of four weeks later.

What happens in my appointment for the meningitis B vaccine?

Each meningitis B vaccination will be given in the upper arm. It’s helpful for you or your child to wear short sleeves or loose sleeves that can be rolled up. You’ll be asked to stay behind for five minutes after each vaccination to make sure there are no immediate reactions. Our pharmacist will talk to you about possible side effects before the vaccination.

If a child is being vaccinated, it’s important to approach the procedure in a calm way, as young children can be nervous about vaccinations, and to leave plenty of time before the appointment.

Are there any reasons a baby shouldn’t have the vaccine?

The meningitis B vaccine shouldn’t be given to babies who have had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or any of the ingredients of the vaccine.

Also, speak to your local Health Plus Pharmacist, nurse or GP about the vaccine if the baby:

  • has a bleeding disorder (for example haemophilia where the blood doesn’t clot properly)
  • has had a fit that wasn’t associated with fever

How long does the meningitis B vaccine last?

For children under the age of 7 years, administer a booster dose 3 years after completion of the primary series and every 5 years thereafter. For children 7 years old or older and adults, administer a booster dose 5 years after completion of the primary series and every 5 years thereafter.

Can you have the meningitis B & meningitis ACWY vaccines at the same time?

Yes at Health Plus Pharmacy it is possible to have both Meningitis B (MenB) & Meningitis ACWY (MenACWY) vaccines at the same time.

Is meningitis B, menB and meningococcal B the same thing?

Yes meningitis B, menB and meningococcal B are the same thing.