Injection

Fever warnings for new baby meningitis vaccine

Healthcare professionals are advising parents to stave off a fever linked to the new baby meningitis vaccination with paracetamol.

Babies will be given the new meningitis B vaccine from September 1 and are likely to suffer a fever that can last a few days as their bodies respond to the vaccine.

It is being given to infants alongside other routine vaccinations at two months, four months and 12-13 months.

There's no need to panic – infant liquid paracetamol for the two- and four-month appointment visits can cut the chance of fever by more than half. The injection itself could protect against around 90 per cent of the meningitis B strains in the UK, potentially protecting up to 4,000 children under five from an infection that can be fatal. Babies and children under five are most at risk of the infection.

The fever is nearly always mild and gone within two days, and some infants may not develop a fever at all, but mums should still be aware that there are still some forms of the disease which are not covered by vaccines.

Meningitis symptoms in babies and young children can include a high fever with cold hands and feet, vomiting and refusal to feed, agitation, drowsiness or being floppy or unresponsive, grunting or rapid breathing or having an unusual high-pitched or moaning cry.

A classic sign is pale, blotchy skin and a red rash that doesn't fade when a glass is rolled over it. A bulging soft spot, stiff neck, convulsions and aversion to bright lights are also symptoms.

Read more about meningitis symptoms and the vaccination on the Meningitis Now website.

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