Several bacteria can cause meningitis so a number of vaccinations can protect your child against it. Here we discuss the vaccines available on the NHS.
These are the vaccines that can help to protect your child:
- Meningitis B vaccine: The meningitis B vaccine was introduced in 2015 to protect against meningococcal group B bacteria, a common cause of meningitis in young children. Your baby will probably be offered this vaccine at eight weeks old, with a second dose when they’re 16 weeks, and a booster when they’re one year old (NHS, 2021).
- 6-in-1 vaccine: The 6-in-1 vaccine (the DTaP/IPV/Hib/Hep B vaccine) protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). It’s the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) bacteria that can cause meningitis. Your baby will receive the vaccine on three separate occasions: when they are eight, 12 and 16 weeks old (NHS, 2019a).
- Pneumococcal vaccine: This protects your baby from serious infections that pneumococcal bacteria can cause, and this includes meningitis. Your baby will get this vaccine as two separate injections, at 12 weeks and at one year old (NHS, 2019b).
- Hib/meningitis C vaccine: The meningitis C vaccine protects your baby from meningococcal group C bacteria, which can cause meningitis. Babies are offered a combined Hib/Men C vaccine at one year of age (NHS, 2019c).
- MMR vaccine: The MMR vaccine protects your baby against measles, mumps and rubella, from which meningitis can sometimes be a complication. Your baby will normally get the vaccine when they are one year old. With a second dose when they reach three years and four months (NHS, 2020a).
- Meningitis ACWY vaccine: The meningitis ACWY vaccines protect against four types of bacteria that can cause meningitis – meningococcal groups A, C, W and Y. This isn’t given to young children in the vaccination schedule; instead, it’s usually offered to teenagers and first-time university students (NHS, 2020b).
Meningitis can be life-threatening so it’s important to consider getting your child vaccinated to help protect them against meningitis.
Speak to your GP if you are not sure whether you or your child's vaccinations are up to date or you would like to discuss them.
This page was last reviewed in March 2022.
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Recovering from meningitis or caring for someone who is? Contact the Meningitis Now helpline for support on 0808 80 10 388 or email email@example.com
If you have a question about meningitis or to find out more about support available from the Meningitis Research Foundation call 080 8800 3344 (UK) or 1800 41 33 44 (Ireland) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
NHS. (2019a) 6-in-1 vaccine overview. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/6-in-1-infant-vaccine/ [accessed 15th March 2022]
NHS. (2019b) Pneumococcal vaccine overview. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pneumococcal-vaccination/ [accessed 15th March 2022]
NHS. (2019c) Hib/MenC vaccine overview. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/hib-men-c-booster-vaccine/ [accessed 15th March 2022]
NHS. (2020a) MMR vaccine. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/mmr-vaccine/ [accessed 15th March 2022]
NHS. (2020b) MenACWY vaccine overview. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/men-acwy-vaccine/ [accessed 15th March 2022]
NHS. (2021) MenB vaccine overview. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/meningitis-b-vaccine/ [accessed 15th March 2022]