Meningitis B Vaccination Service
Our Meningitis B Vaccination Service can help protect you and your family
What is meningitis?
Meningitis is a serious infection. It occurs when the lining around the brain and spinal cord becomes inflamed. The infection is mostly caused either by bacteria or a virus. Bacterial meningitis can lead to brain damage, deafness, blindness, epilepsy, blood poisoning (septicaemia) and even death. The bacteria can spread to people through prolonged close contact.
Meningococcal bacteria are the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the UK, and can cause meningitis and septicaemia. There are five main groups but meningococcal group B (Men B) is the most common, accounting for 55% of reported cases of meningococcal meningitis.*
Every case of meningitis is different so the symptoms can appear in any order and some may not appear at all.
- Severe headache
- Dislike of bright lights
- Neck stiffness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion and drowsiness
- Loss of consciousness
- Fever with cold hands and feet
- Joint or muscle pain
- Rapid breathing or grunting
- Stomach cramps and diarrhoea
- Red or purple spots or bruises that don't fade under pressure
Not everyone gets a rash, so don't wait for this before seeking urgent medical attention.
Who is at risk?
Meningitis can affect all ages, but it’s more common in babies and young children. The next most vulnerable group is teenagers and young adults because of increased social mixing at these ages, leading to increased spreading of the bacteria. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms listed above as meningitis and septicaemia can strike at any age, with 21% of cases of meningococcal disease due to Men B reported between January and March 2017 occurring in those aged 45 and over.**
How can Boots help?
The NHS currently offers a Men B vaccination as part of the routine childhood immunisations programme in the UK, with vaccinations given at eight weeks and 16 weeks of age, with a booster at 12 months of age. Vaccinating babies helps protect them when they're most at risk.
Boots fully supports the NHS programme to vaccinate this most vulnerable age group. We also recognise that some people may want to consider vaccination for themselves or their children, but they’re outside the age range for the NHS programme. For this reason, we provide a private Men B vaccination service in over 350 Boots pharmacies for adults and children aged two and over.***
If our Meningitis B Vaccination Service is suitable, two vaccinations will be given either a minimum of 8 weeks apart for those aged between two and 10, or a minimum of 4 weeks apart for those aged 11 and over. Any customer can have their second dose at Boots if their first dose was given at another provider, as long as they were over two years of age at the time of the first dose and they meet all the eligibility criteria of the Boots service.
The injections at Boots are given in the upper arm so it's helpful for you or your child to wear short sleeves or loose sleeves that can be rolled up. You'll be asked to stay behind for five minutes after each injection to make sure there are no immediate adverse reactions to the vaccination.
Who is the Boots Meningitis B Vaccination Service suitable for?
The service is suitable for adults and children aged two and above. There are very few people who are not eligible for the service. Your pharmacist will check suitability during the consultation.
How it works
Book an appointment at a participating Boots pharmacy
Get a first dose of the vaccination, if suitable, after a pharmacist consultation
Return at a later date for the second dose of the vaccination
Are there any side effects to the vaccination?
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 check their temperature regularly with a thermometer. You can give them age-appropriate paracetamol to help lower their temperature if you need to. Make sure they're comfortable in their clothing and don't have too much bedding over them.
Headaches and joint pain are most common in older children and adults. These should 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 side effects are mild - and not everyone gets them.
The Meningitis B Vaccination Service costs £110 per vaccination, and the two-dose course costs £220.
Collect 4 points for every £1 you spend with Boots Advantage Card. You can't use Boots Advantage Card points to pay for this service. Normal Advantage Card terms and conditions apply.
Our in-store pharmacy teams can give you more information or you can download our Meningitis B Vaccination Service leaflet.
Find out more
*One year data (July 2015 - June 2016) England only. Source: PHE (published October 2016).
**PHE 2017 (England data) January - March 2017.
***Subject to specially-trained pharmacist and stock availability. Eligibility criteria and charges apply. Talk to your GP about the vaccination if your child is under 24 months.