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Vaccination

Three paracetamol doses for babies receiving meningitis B vaccine, says PHE

Babies receiving the meningitis B vaccine (Bexsero) should be given three doses of infant paracetamol as a prophylactic measure against fever, according to Public Health England (PHE). In the image, infant takes medicine from syringe

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Parents should be advised that they can give three doses of infant paracetamol to babies receiving the meningitis B vaccine

Babies receiving the meningitis B vaccine (Bexsero), which became part of the NHS childhood immunisation programme on 1 September 2015, should be given three doses of infant paracetamol as a prophylactic measure against fever, according to advice from Public Health England (PHE).

Babies should receive one dose at the time of vaccination or shortly afterwards and then two more doses in four to six hour intervals.

The recommendation exceeds the current licensing terms of infant paracetamol (120mg/5ml), which is restricted to a maximum of two doses to treat post-immunisation fever in babies aged two to four months.

PHE has written to pharmacists explaining the new advice so they can share the information with parents.

The PHE advice follows a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). That recommendation was triggered by evidence that the new meningitis B vaccine may cause infants to experience more fever when it is given with other routine immunisations at two and four months.

The Commission on Human Medicines, which endorsed the JCVI advice, has now asked that paracetamol’s dosage schedule relating to post-vaccination use be reviewed.

From 1 September 2015, England, Scotland and Wales became the first countries in the world to offer babies a vaccine against meningitis and septicaemia caused by meningococcal B infection as part of a national immunisation programme. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20069262

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  • Babies receiving the meningitis B vaccine (Bexsero) should be given three doses of infant paracetamol as a prophylactic measure against fever, according to Public Health England (PHE). In the image, infant takes medicine from syringe

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