Wales

New meningitis B vaccine for babies and young children

baby
Image caption Babies are most at risk of meningitis B infection

A new vaccination to protect children and babies against meningococcal group B disease is now available.

From 1 September, the MenB vaccine will be added to the NHS childhood immunisation programme in Wales.

The disease can cause meningitis and septicaemia, which can both be fatal.

In the past 20 years, 500 to 1,700 people have developed MenB disease every year in England and Wales - around half of them under five-years-old.

The UK is the first country to routinely offer the jab, alongside the MenC vaccine, which is given to children when they are three months old.

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Media captionCaroline Williams, 33, from Tredegar, believes the jab could have saved her son Caden, who died 18 months ago

Babies will be offered the three-dose vaccine with other routine jabs at two months, four months and 12-13 months.

Children born on or after 1 July this year will get it alongside their other immunisations.

Meningitis is an infection of the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

Symptoms in babies and young children can include a fever, vomiting and refusing to feed, drowsiness or being unresponsive, rapid breathing or having an unusual high-pitched or moaning cry.

Other symptoms include pale, blotchy skin, a stiff neck, red rash that does not fade under a glass and sensitivity to bright lights.

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