meningitis B

Following a spate of recent meningitis B cases and unfortunate fatalities in the South West, it’s understandable that more people are concerned. While it is uncommon, meningitis B is a serious disease that can strike without warning and progress extremely fast. It can attack the lining of the brain, spinal cord or cause serious infection in the blood. The NHS Meningitis B vaccination only started being offered to children in 2015 so those born before then form part of a large population in the vulnerable at risk group.

Meningitis B is a type of meningococcal disease caused by the bacteria, ‘Neisseria Meningitidis’. There are five common groups of the bacteria that cause this meningococcal disease, namely A, C, W, Y, and B. With this in mind, there are two types of meningitis vaccines; one for ACWY and one for B. Although anyone can get meningitis, there are higher rates of meningococcal disease in adolescents and young adults. 

FAQ About Meningitis Vaccinations 

Some of the most common questions we get asked include the following:

  • Is it necessary for me or my child to have the meningitis B jab?
  • Does my child need both the MEN ACWY and MEN B vaccine?
  • Are there any side effects of having this vaccine?
  • What is the lowest cost offer or the best price of a meningitis B vaccination in Bristol and South West? 

More Information On The Meningitis B Vaccine 

The meningitis B vaccine offers protection against meningococcal group B bacteria which are a common cause of meningitis in young children in the UK. This vaccine is recommended for babies aged 8 weeks, followed by a second dose at 16 weeks and a booster at 1 year.

You may have been vaccinated for meningitis ACWY as it is recommended for 11 to 12-year-olds. It should also be accompanied by a booster shot at the age of 16. However, since the meningitis B vaccine is relatively new, many teens have not had the vaccine which is recommended for 16 to 23-year-olds. As a result, there are many people that are not protected against meningitis B. 

Signs And Symptoms Of Meningitis 

Knowing the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia can help save someone’s life. Remaining vigilant and getting medical help as soon as possible can make all the difference. Remember, symptoms can appear in any order and some may not even appear at all. Early symptoms can include:

  • fever
  • severe headache
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • muscle pain
  • stomach cramps
  • fever with cold hands and feet

For more information on signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia, visit the links below: 

How Does Meningitis B Spread? 

Meningococcal group B bacteria is responsible for 90% of meningococcal infections in young children. It can cause life-threatening infections, including meningitis and blood poisoning. This bacteria can spread to people through prolonged close contact and that includes:

  • Living in close quarters
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Sharing drinks, glasses and utensils
  • Kissing

Meningitis can affect all ages, but it is more common in babies and young children. The next most vulnerable groups are teenagers and young adults due to their increased social interactions at these ages (starting at sixth form and university).

Meningococcal infections tend to come in bursts with a fatality rate of around one in ten. In the last 20 years, between 500 and 1,700 people have suffered from meningitis B each year. Many of the survivors suffer terrible permanent disabilities, such as amputation, brain damage and epilepsy. 

Raising Awareness 

All teenagers at secondary school are now being vaccinated against the Meningitis ACWY strain which is different from the Meningitis B as previously mentioned. The NHS now routinely offers children born from 2015 onwards the Meningitis B vaccination. However, that still leaves a large population in the ‘at-risk group’ exceptionally vulnerable.

Due to recent incidents and fatalities after Men B infections among young people, there have been massive campaigns to raise awareness of the condition and organise vaccination drives. Parents approached Bristol Travel Clinic to help set up an easily accessible and affordable vaccination local service. We have also partnered with the charity Meningitis Now.

Here’s a look at the success we’ve had in previous years raising awareness about meningitis at our Bedminster Pharmacy. 

Where Can I Get A Meningitis B Vaccination? 

Bristol Travel Clinic offers the lowest cost vaccinations in Bristol and the South West. Each vaccination also contributes to supporting the fantastic work of Meningitis Now. Our local pharmacy teams are more than happy to provide you with advice and help with any queries you may have. We can also visit schools or parent meetings to talk about the symptoms and risks of this dangerous disease.

There is no question too trivial when it comes to protecting your health and well-being. We are committed to supporting this initiative by making our service the most affordable for the whole family. Plus, we can also offer group discounts so get in touch today for more details. In case you missed it, here is some interesting information on the Chickenpox Jab.