GPs across the UK are set to begin giving babies the new vaccine against meningococcal group B disease (MenB) from next week.
The MenB jab – which is due to start being offered from 1 September – is given at two months, four months and then 12-13 months of age, alongside the other routine infant immunisations.
The addition of MenB vaccine to the schedule means GPs will for the first time need to advise parents to give their babies doses of paracetamol straight after the two-and four-month immunisation visits, to help prevent fever.
Previously parents were advised to give infants paracetamol only if they develop a fever after receiving the routine jabs, but the new MenB vaccine is much more likely to cause fever than the other immunisations and the advice is now to give the drug prophylactically.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said: ‘It’s important that parents use paracetamol following vaccination to reduce the risk of fever.’
Dr Ramsay added that parents can be reassured that any fever that does develop ‘should be short lived in nearly all cases’, but that ‘giving paracetamol reduces the chances of getting fever by more than a half, and also reduces the risk of irritability and discomfort, such as pain at the injection site, after vaccination’.