Meningitis B Vaccination Service

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Get your Meningitis B vaccination at Well Pharmacy

We offer a meningitis B vaccination service at our community pharmacies. Ready to find out more? Here we run through what meningitis is, who is at risk of catching meningitis, and how you can protect yourself against it with a meningitis B vaccination. 

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is a serious disease caused by the inflammation of the membranes that cover and protect your brain and spinal cord. These membranes are called meninges – meningitis means inflammation of the meninges.

In serious cases, meningitis can cause brain damage and can be fatal. Meningitis can also lead to a life-threatening form of blood poisoning called septicaemia.

What causes meningitis?

Meningitis can have a range of causes. It can be brought on by a reaction to medications or triggered by other diseases, including some cancers.

The disease is most often caused by infections of the meninges. These infections can be viral, fungal, parasitic, or bacterial. Meningitis caused by a bacterial infection is most likely to cause serious problems. A meningitis vaccination can protect you against bacterial meningitis. 

How do you catch meningitis?

The bacteria and viruses that cause meningitis infections often live harmlessly in peoples’ throats and noses. Around 10% of the population have a type of bacteria that can causes meningitis, called meningococcal bacteria, living in the back of their throats. 

These bacteria and viruses are spread by coughing, sneezing, kissing or things like sharing utensils. Most people who catch them won’t get meningitis, but if the bacteria or virus get into the bloodstream and reach the meninges they can cause meningitis.  

What are the symptoms of meningitis?

Meningitis can cause different symptoms in different people, but the most common symptoms of meningitis include:

  • a severe headache
  • a stiff neck
  • feeling or being sick
  • sensitivity to bright light
  • confusion
  • drowsiness and unresponsiveness 
  • loss of consciousness
  • convulsions or seizures.

Symptoms of septicaemia, that can be caused by meningitis, include:

  • a high temperature (over 38°C)
  • cold hands and feet
  • joint and muscle pain
  • breathing quickly
  • stomach cramps
  • diarrhoea
  • a red or purple rash that doesn’t fade under pressure (roll an empty glass over the rash and check whether the spots don’t fade under the pressure).

Who is at risk of catching meningitis?

While anyone can catch meningitis, bacterial meningitis is most common in babies, children and young adults.

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What is the meningitis B vaccine?

We offer a meningitis B vaccination at our community pharmacies.

The vaccination protects you against bacterial infections caused by the B group of meningococcal bacteria – the leading cause of meningitis in the UK. 

The meningitis B vaccine contains parts of B group meningococcal bacteria, but not the whole bacteria. And the parts it does contain are inactive. This means the vaccine can’t give you an infection, but it does stimulate your immune system to develop the antibodies to kill the bacteria. This gives you immunity against the B group of meningococcal bacteria.

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Who is the Well meningitis B vaccination service suitable for?

Our meningitis B vaccination service is suitable for people between two to 50 years of age. 

You can have the vaccine as long as you:

  • haven’t previously had the vaccine
  • haven’t had an allergic reaction to a vaccine before
  • don’t have a fever on the day of the appointment.

Patients aged between two and 10 will receive two doses of the vaccine:

  • one dose at their first appointment
  • one dose at least one month after the first dose.

Patients aged 11-50 will receive two doses of the vaccine:

  • one dose at their first appointment
  • one dose at least one month after the first dose.

Is the meningitis B vaccine safe?

The meningitis B vaccine is a safe and effective way to immunise yourself or your child against the B group of meningococcal bacteria that can cause meningitis.

Vaccinations are put through rigorous clinical trials before they’re approved for use and scientists continually monitor the safety of vaccines. Nearly 8,000 people, including 5,000 babies and toddlers, were given the vaccine during clinical trials. Altogether around two million vaccines have been given through the NHS, with no safety concerns raised. 

As with any medication, vaccines can cause side effects in some people. With the meningitis B vaccine, these side effects tend to be mild and short-lasting. These include pain where the vaccination was injected, headaches, and fever in babies and children.

You need to be over the age of 18 to book your own vaccination appointment but a parent or legal guardian can book the appointment for you if you're under 18. They will also need to come with you to your appointment.

Can I book for other people?

You can book meningitis B vaccination appointments for up to four people. You will all attend the same appointment and your group will need to arrive at the pharmacy at the same time.

Please note:

  • If any other people in your booking are aged 18 or over, you will need to have their consent to book the appointment on their behalf.
  • If anyone in your booking is under 18, you will need to provide their legal guardian’s details and they must be accompanied to the appointment by their legal guardian.

Can I book for other people if I’m not getting the meningitis B vaccine?

Yes, you can book for other people if you’re not getting a vaccine. We will ask for your details and contact information to manage the booking.

What if I need to cancel my appointment?

We’ll send you an appointment confirmation email with contact details for the pharmacy. Please call the pharmacy as soon as you can to let them know if you can’t make it to your appointment. They’ll be able to help you if you need to reschedule.

Can children get a free meningitis B vaccine?

In September 2015, the NHS added the meningitis B vaccine to their childhood vaccination programme. Children born after September 2015 will receive a vaccination at eight weeks old, 16 weeks old, and one year old. These early vaccinations protect babies when they are at greatest risk of infection.

However, some people may wish to protect themselves or their children but fall outside of this age range. In this case, we offer our private meningitis B vaccination service. This does not replace the free NHS Meningitis ACWY vaccination that young people are entitled to.

How much does it cost?

The meningitis B vaccination costs £110 per dose. A full course requires two doses.

Vaccinations are subject to stock levels and the professional discretion of the pharmacist.

You need to be over the age of 18 to book your own vaccination appointment but a parent or legal guardian can book the appointment for you if you're under 18. They will also need to come with you to your appointment.