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GPs must give new paracetamol advice with MenB vaccinations

GPs need to advise parents to give a course of paracetamol to prevent their babies developing a fever with the new Meningitis B vaccination, public health officials have warned.

Parents should be made aware that fever is more common when the new Meningitis (Men)B vaccination is given alongside other routine jabs at two and four months, and that giving paracetamol immediately after the vaccinations should help to reduce their baby’s risk of developing fever and discomfort.

Practices are due to start offering the new MenB vaccine from September, ideally when babies reach two, four and twelve months as part of the routine infant immunisation schedule.

A letter sent out this week from Public Health England (PHE) explains that the advice on paracetamol dosing and timings differs from previous advice that may still be displayed on the infant paracetamol packaging.

The letter states: ‘The advice on the use of paracetamol following MenB vaccination differs to previous advice on the use of paracetamol for post-vaccination fever which may still appear on infant paracetamol product packaging.

‘In order to avoid confusion, a patient information leaflet has been produced detailing advice on paracetamol dosage and timings and addressing frequently asked questions.’

The new advice – detailed in the PHE leaflet – recommends giving three doses of 60 mg of paracetamol after the two-month and four-month immunisations, the first to be given straight after the vaccination, with the two further doses to be given at four-to-six hourly intervals.

Readers' comments (5)

  • Since 2009 consensus has been reached that if paracetamol has been used prophylactically (as currently advocated) it does have a immune suppressive effect on the vaccinations indeed a recent study in 2014 on young adults and Hep B vaccs it did the same.

    On the other hand if used as therapeusis then it seems not to have that effect. More research is needed.

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  • Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics 10:7, 1993–2004; July 2014; © 2014 Landes Bioscience.

    This is the study.

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  • The study was fully financed by Novartis Vaccine and Diagnostics. .

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  • This comment has been moderated

  • OK, but how do Novartis benefit from the issue of generic paracetamol suspension ( sugar free ) to vaccinated babies? Follow the money... Fine, but where to?

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  • This new advice will undo all the work we have done over the last 20 years to convince parents that fever is not dangerous. And if 39% of two month old babies will develop a fever after vaccination despite paracetamol, should we admit them all to hospital as a "red light" according to NICE guidance CG160? Or should we use our common sense, and risk an indefensible claim for ignoring national guidance if the baby is in the early stages of a serious illness?

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