Meningococcal B Disease Immunisation
Meningococcal B Disease Immunisation
Pēpi and tamariki (babies and children) can get free protection from meningococcal B disease with the MenB (Bexsero) vaccine.
Key points about meningococcal immunisation
- meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection - it causes severe illness and can cause death
- pēpi and tamariki with meningococcal disease can get sick very quickly
- there are several different types of meningococcal bacteria including A, B, C, Y and W
- pēpi can get free protection from meningococcal B disease
- pēpi can have this when they have their regular immunisations (at 3, 5 and 12 months)
- even earlier protection is very important for Māori and Pasifika pēpi (at 2, 4 and 12 months)
How do you prevent meningococcal B disease?
From 1 March 2023, pēpi and tamariki can get free protection against meningococcal B disease with the MenB (Bexsero) vaccine.
Pēpi up to 12 months
Pēpi can have the MenB vaccine during their normal childhood immunisations - at 3 months, 5 months and 12 months.
Your baby can have the MenB vaccine even earlier - at 2 months, 4 months and 12 months. Earlier protection is very important for Māori and Pasifika pēpi. This is because they have a higher risk of meningococcal disease.
Earlier protection is very important for Māori and Pasifika pēpi.
Tamariki until they turn 5 years old
Tamariki from 13 months up to 59 months will need extra immunisation visits to get their MenB (Bexsero) vaccine doses. These will be free until 31 August 2025.
Some young people aged 13 to 25 years
Some young people aged 13 to 25 years who are in close-living situations can have the MenB (Bexsero) vaccine free.
Talk to your GP practice to check if your child can have this free protection
Talk to your GP practice about whether your child or young person can have free protection against meningococcal B disease.
The MenB (Bexsero) vaccine can cause quite high fevers - particularly in pēpi under 2 years. Giving your baby paracetamol reduces the chance of them developing a high fever. See the following instructions.
Give 3 doses to your baby
Check the label carefully before giving paracetamol to your baby under 2 years. Make sure it's 120mg/5mLs (not 250mg/5mls).
Dose 1 - given with or just after the vaccine, or up to 30 minutes before.
Dose 2 - give this 6 hours after the dose 1.
Dose 3 - give this 6 hours after the dose 2.
If your child is asleep when a dose is due, you don't need to wake them up. You can give the dose when your child wakes. Just make sure it's been 6 hours since the last dose.
The amount of paracetamol needed for each dose is based on your child's weight, so it changes as they grow. The vaccinator may need to check your baby's weight at each visit.
If you are using paracetamol that you already have at home, check the label on the bottle carefully. Make sure you are using the right strength for your child and that it has NOT expired. For babies, the label MUST be 120mg/5mLs (not 250mg/5mls). If you are not sure or unable to read the label don't use the medicine. Talk to your vaccinator.
Pamphlet about protecting against meningococcal disease in tamariki under 5 years
Pamphlet about protecting against meningococcal disease in some young people aged 13 to 25 years
Immunisations and timings
The resources below show when pēpi and tamariki can have their MenB and other immunisations.
You can create a chart for your pēpi at the Immunise website. By putting in your child's birthday, it will show you the immunisations your pēpi needs and when they should have them.
The chart below is just an example - create one for your baby
See more KidsHealth content on immunisation
This page last reviewed 04 October 2023.
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