Babies in the UK will soon be offered a vaccine that protects against meningitis and septicaemia caused by meningococcal B (MenB) infection as part of the routine immunisation programme for children.

In September 2015, UK babies born on or after 1 July 2015 will be offered the vaccine alongside their other routine immunisations and babies born on or after 1 May will be offered the vaccine as part of a one off catch-up.

Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Derek Mills, said: “Meningococcal bacteria has for decades been the single largest cause of meningitis and septicaemia in the UK, with babies, toddlers and adolescents at most risk. It leads to death in 10% of all cases and to long-term after effects in a further 36%.

“Department of Health (DH) surveys have consistently shown that meningitis is the illness parents of young children in our country fear the most. Each year it costs the NHS millions of pounds in medical litigation, and the long-term costs to government of a severe case can exceed £3 million.”

This is a step forward in the fight against meningitis however the new MenB vaccine will not protect against all strains of disease and there are other causes of meningitis and septicaemia which are not yet vaccine preventable.

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