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Meningococcal B Immunisation Program

The State Government Meningococcal B (MenB) Immunisation Program provides free meningococcal B vaccines to children and young people who are residents of South Australia and have a Medicare card.

Who is eligible for the Meningococcal B Immunisation Program in 2020

  • The childhood program is offered to those aged 6 weeks to 12 months of age.
  • The school program is offered to students in Year 10.

Vaccine and schedule

Bexsero® (GlaxoSmithKline) vaccine will be used for the program.

Childhood program

3 dose schedule: Children aged 6 weeks to 12 months of age

  • Children commencing the vaccine schedule between 6 weeks and less than 12 months of age require 3 doses in total (2 primary doses and 1 booster dose).
  • Bexsero should be routinely administered at 6 weeks, 4 and 12 months of age.  This aligns with the usual schedule points for National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccines.
  • Bexsero can be safely administered with other NIP vaccines.

Fever (≥ 38.5°C) in young children aged less than 2 years is a common and expected adverse event following Bexsero administration.

Paracetamol is recommended with every dose of Bexsero for those less than 2 years of age.

The 1st dose of paracetamol is recommended within 30-minutes prior to, or as soon as practicable after, vaccination. This is followed by two more doses of paracetamol given 6 hours apart, even if the child does not have a fever. Doses of paracetamol should be administered as per manufacturer’s guidelines. Refer to the Managing possible fever after meningococcal B vaccine administration (PDF 44KB).

School program

2 dose schedule: students in Year 10

  • Students in Year 10 will be offered the Bexsero vaccine as part of the school immunisation program.
  • There is a minimum interval of 8 weeks between doses.
  • Bexsero can be safely administered with NIP vaccines.

Catch-up programs

Two catch up programs were included in the initial stages of the program.

Childhood Catch-up Program

  • For children aged over 12 months of age to less than four years of age at the commencement of the program on 1 October 2018.
  • Ends on 31 December 2019.

Young Adult Catch-up Program 

  • For young adults aged 17 to less than 21 at the commencement of the program on the 1 February 2019.
  • Ends on 29 February 2020.

Completing Courses started in 2018 and 2019

Any individual, who started a course of Bexsero during the catch- up period, can complete the course with a funded vaccine/s, even if this is after the catch- up completion deadlines.

Meningococcal B Vaccine Herd Immunity Study

Individuals who were in Year 10, 11 and 12 in 2017 and 2018 may have already had the meningococcal B vaccination through the Meningococcal B Vaccine Herd Immunity Study-“B Part of It”.

Check with the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) or with your B Part of it Immunisation Provider to check immunisation history. For more information visit B Part of it.

Further Information for Consumers 

Information for parents regarding the Meningococcal B Immunisation Program is available in the Consumer – Frequently Asked Questions (PDF 196KB).

Information for health professionals

Childhood program administration principles and recommendations:

  • Bexsero can be safely administered with other NIP vaccines.
  • It is recommended to administer Bexsero in a separate limb to other vaccines. For example at the 6 week and 4 month schedule points, administer Bexsero in the left leg and Prevenar 13® and Infanrix Hexa® in the right leg. Injections should be separated by 2.5cm. 
  • All scheduled vaccines should be administered in one visit, if possible.
  • If all vaccines cannot be administered at one visit, prioritise the administration of vaccines contained on the NIP. 
  • If all scheduled NIP vaccines cannot be given in one visit, prioritise the antigens not previously given, for example MMR at the 12 month schedule point.
  • If deferring some vaccines all outstanding vaccines can be given a minimum of 3 days later.
  • Administer Bexsero in the left limb. This will enable the easy detection of any possible injection site reactions from Bexsero, and forms part of the vaccine safety plan implemented to support and monitor the Meningococcal B Immunisation Program. Recommended sites of administration:
    • infants less than 12 months of age - left anterolateral thigh
    • Those 12 months of age and older - left deltoid.
  • Prophylactic use of paracetamol is recommended with every dose of Bexsero for those less than 2 years of age.
  • Parents should be able to confidently manage fever post vaccination with the information provided and may require education on how to administer paracetamol.

Always check the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) to check if any doses of a meningococcal B vaccine have already been administered.

Vaccines must only be reconstituted with the diluent supplied. Never mix separate vaccines together.

Vaccine ordering 

To be eligible to receive funded Bexsero vaccine, immunisation service providers are required to demonstrate adequate vaccine storage, monitoring and cold chain management processes.

The SA Health Immunisation Section will assess this by providers completing an online survey. If you are an immunisation provider in South Australia and have not received an email providing the link to the survey, contact the Vaccine Distribution Centre on 08 742 57139.

  • If requirements are met - providers are notified by email and can commence ordering Bexsero vaccine.

  • If requirements are not met - providers are individually contacted regarding the steps required to gain access to Bexsero vaccine.

Reporting an AEFI

Reporting an adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) is an essential part of ensuring ongoing vaccine safety monitoring. To report any AEFI which are serious (e.g hospitalisation is required) or unexpected or unresolved or prolonged:

Available resources

The below resources have been developed to assist immunisation providers in the delivery of this program:

Further information is available in the Frequently Asked Questions for health professionals (PDF 352KB).

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