All babies in England and Scotland will be offered vaccination against meningitis B from September this year. It’s the first programme of its kind in the world.
The NHS in Wales and Northern Ireland will be offering the jab too, but they haven’t yet said when they will begin.
The injections will be added to the childhood immunisation programme, which parents are offered for all babies. It already includes vaccination against meningitis C, another form of the disease.
The new jabs will be given at GP surgeries, the first when the baby is 2 months old, followed by another at 4 months, and a booster at 12 months.
The NHS says that at the moment around 1,200 people get meningitis B every year, and it mainly affects babies and children. It kills roughly 1 in 10 of those who are infected. Many who survive are permanently disabled, the most common complication is hearing loss, and survivors often lose limbs.
Older children will also be given greater protection against other strains of meningitis. In August a combined vaccination against meningitis A,C W and Y will be offered to all 17 and 18 year olds at school, and all 19-25 year old students starting University.
What is Meningitis? (BSL)
The Deaf Health Charity SignHealth have worked with Meningitis Now to make meningitis information accessible to Deaf people. We have translated information into British Sign Language (BSL) and the videos are available to watch by clicking here.
Image Credit: All Things Colorful