Is Your Child Immunised Against Meningococcal B?

Author: Dr Scott Pearson, a GP Registrar at Kingscliff Health medical and allied health centre in Kingscliff, NSW. 

My name is Dr Scott Pearson. I have a strong background in paediatrics, having trained as a paediatrics registrar. I really enjoy bringing my hospital based knowledge and experience into the general practice setting.

A common conversation I have been having with parents lately is about immunisations for meningococcal disease. Meningococcal is a bacterial infection of the blood and/or membranes that line the brain and spinal cord. Whilst rare, it can be potentially life threatening. Babies and children up to the age of five accounted for 20% of meningococcal cases in 2016. Vaccination is the only truly effective way to prevent infection.

The main point I bring up with parents is that even with standard immunisations, their child may still be at risk from meningococcal B, a particular strain of meningococcal that is not offered with the standard schedule at 1 year of age. NSW Health strongly recommends an additional meningococcal B immunisation, even though it is not covered by the (free) National Immunisation Schedule. It costs around $130/dose (depending on the pharmacy), and most children require a 2 (or sometimes 3) dose schedule, depending on their age.

I am very happy to discuss this issue in person with parents and have a wonderful fact sheet with all of the information parents need to know to make an informed decision.

In the meantime, it is important to take your child to the doctor for immunisations at the following ages, as well as a health check-up at any other time you are concerned or your child becomes unwell:

  • First week of life
  • 6 weeks
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 12 months
  • 18 months
  • 4 years

I am very happy to see children of any age. I have a policy that all new patients have their first appointment as a dedicated long appointment. This gives us adequate time to get to know each other and for me to familiarise myself with your child’s individual healthcare needs. All of my services are bulk billed for children under 18 years of age on weekdays.

Book an appointment online with Scott or by calling us on 02 6670 1400 to learn more about how we can help you with the health and well being of your child. We have a comprehensive approach to children’s health ranging from preventive medicine, diet and fitness as well as check-ups and acute care for illness and minor bumps and injuries.

* The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. You must consult your doctor before acting on information in this article, especially if you have concerns regarding health related issues for yourself and your family.