Free Meningococcal B vaccine for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants

6 July 2020

The meningococcal B vaccine (Bexsero®) has been added to the National Immunisation Program schedule for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children <2 years of age, commencing 1 July 2020.

Immunisation providers are reminded to identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within your practices and discuss the need for additional recommended vaccines. It is important to alert parents of the need to buy paracetamol prior to vaccination.

Why is it being funded?

Thincidence of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) caused by serogroup B is highest in young children compared with other age groups and it is about 4 times higher in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged <2 years than in non-Indigenous children. 

Dose schedule 

The number of Bexsero® doses required depends on age and presence of any medical conditions that increase the risk of IMD. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with:

  • no medical risk conditions: 3 doses in total (given at 2*, 4 and 12 months of age)
  • with risk conditions for IMD:4 doses in total (given at 2*, 4, 6 and 12 months of age)

Catch-up vaccination 

Meningococcal B vaccine catch-up is available for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged <2 years until 30 June 2023. 

Co-administration with other vaccines

The meningococcal B vaccine (Bexsero®) can be safely administered with other childhood vaccines and can be given at the same time at the 2*, 4 and 12 months schedule points

Does this affect ‘No Jab, No Pay’?

No, the meningococcal B vaccine is not assessed as part of the eligibility requirements for family assistance payments under the Australian Government’s No Jab, No Pay policy.

Fever

Fever (>38.5°C) is a common reaction following any vaccine, but is more common with Bexsero® in young children aged less than 2 years. Children <2 years of age are recommended to receive prophylactic paracetamol with every dose of Bexsero®.

Notification of all adverse events following immunisation at any age should be made through the AEFI reporting form

Prophylactic paracetamol dose

With each dose of the Bexsero® for children <2years of ageit is recommended to give three doses of paracetamol as follows:

  • Dose 1 – 30 minutes before vaccination or as soon as possible afterwards
  • Dose 2 – given 6 hours after the first paracetamol dose even if there is no fever
  • Dose 3 – given 6 hours after the second paracetamol dose even if there is no fever

This is because of the increased risk of fever associated with receiving Bexsero®. 

It is important to alert parents of the need to buy paracetamol prior to vaccination.

Meningococcal B consumer resources

  • Order posterhere
  • Order brochureshere

Further information

Clinical advice for vaccination providers -Meningococcal vaccination schedule from 1 July 2020

Keep up to date with Immunisation information on our PHN Immunisation webpage

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