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.