Information & Advice
In September 2015 the NHS introduced the meningitis B vaccine as part of the routine childhood immunisations programme in the UK, with vaccinations given at 2, 4 and 12 months of age. Vaccinating babies helps protect them when they're most at risk of developing meningitis B.
Boots fully supports the NHS decision to vaccinate this most vulnerable age group. We recognise that some parents may want to consider vaccination for their children who are outside the age range for the NHS programme and at Boots we are able to provide a private vaccination service for those between 2 and 21 years of age in selected stores*.
*Subject to specially trained pharmacist and stock availability. Eligibility criteria applies. Charges apply.
Meningitis is a serious infection and occurs when the lining around the brain and spinal cord becomes inflamed. The infection is mostly caused either by a bacteria or a virus.
The most common form is bacterial meningitis and can progress very quickly and could lead to brain damage, deafness, blindness, epilepsy, blood poisoning (septicaemia) and even death.
Every case of meningitis is different so the symptoms can appear in any order and some may not appear at all. There are several types of bacterial meningitis which can cause meningococcal meningitis or meningococcal septicaemia. Together these are known as meningococcal disease.
Not all children get a rash, so don't wait for this before seeking urgent medical attention.
Anyone can get meningitis, but infants and young children are most at risk. The next most vulnerable group is teenagers and young adults because of increased social mixing in these ages leading to increased spreading of the bacteria. But meningitis and septicaemia can strike at any age, so it's important to know the signs and symptoms.
Boots is offering a private service, and our specially-trained pharmacists can provide the vaccination in store to those between 2 and 21 years of age after a consultation.
If the service is suitable for your child, two vaccinations will be given either a minimum of two months apart for those aged 2-10 years, or a minimum of one month apart for those aged 11 upwards. Only children under 1, who can be vaccinated through the NHS childhood vaccination programme, would need two doses at 2 months and 4 months of age with a booster at 12 months. Talk to your doctor about the vaccination if you have a child under 24 months.
The injection is given in the upper arm on both occasions, so it's helpful for your child to wear loose or short sleeves that can be rolled up, to make things easier. It's important to treat the procedure in a calm matter-of-fact way, as young children can be nervous about vaccinations and to leave plenty of time before the appointment.
Your Pharmacist will ask you to wait behind for five minutes after the injection, just in case there are any immediate adverse reactions.
With so many different meningitis vaccinations, it can get confusing. The table below outlines which vaccinations are available to which age groups and how people can access them.
|Vaccine service||Age eligibility||How to access|
|Available in Boots stores|
|Boots Travel Service Meningitis ACWY Vaccine||For travellers aged 5 and upwards||Boots appointment booking system via boots.com/travelhealth or in store|
|Boots Meningitis B Private Vaccination Service||Aged 2 - 21 years||Book an appointment now|
|Not available through Boots, but available through other providers|
|NHS Meningitis ACWY Vaccine||17 - 18 years of age (school year 13) and older first-time university entrants (aged 19 - 25).||Local GP practice|
|The Men ACWY will replace Men C offered to year 9 or 10 (13 - 15 year olds). This school-based programme will also provide a catch-up to include pupils in year 11 (15 and 16 year olds).||School programme|
|NHS Meningitis B Vaccine||For babies born after 1 May 2015 aged 2 months, followed by a second dose at 4 months, and a booster at 12 months.||Local GP practice|
|NHS Meningitis C Vaccine||For babies at 3 months of age and at 12 months of age.||Local GP practice|
The service costs £110 per consultation including vaccination, so after the full course the cost of the service is £220. Boots Advantage Card members can collect four points for every £1 spent, but you can't use points to pay for the service.
Boots will donate £1 to Meningitis Now for every child we vaccinate (registered Charity number for England and Wales 803016 and Scotland SC037790)
Vaccinations shouldn't cause too much discomfort, although the injected area can become sore and red. Young children may develop a fever (a temperature over 37.5°C) so it's a good idea to have a thermometer at home so you can check their temperature. You can give them paracetamol to lower their temperature.
Make sure they're comfortable in their clothing and don't have too much bedding over them. Headaches and joint pain is most common in those over 11, these disappear on their own in time, but can be eased with pain relief, such as paracetamol. The good news is that, although common, most of these symptoms are mild - and not everyone gets them.
Children under the age of 2 may require the vaccine in the thigh and our Pharmacists have been trained to vaccinate in the upper arm which is appropriate for the age range of our service. Other private clinics may provide the service for children under the age of 2.
our in-store pharmacists can give you more information or you can download the Boots in-store leafletDownload leaflet
Loose clothing or short sleeves are best. Avoid chunky, padded or tight-fitting clothes with lots of buttons and straps.
Give yourself enough time to get to your appointment without rushing.
Your child may sense your anxiety and become worried and restless.
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