Until recently, there was no vaccine against MenB. But in September 2015, the UK was the first country in the world to introduce a new MenB vaccine - Bexsero, produced by GlaxoSmithKline - into the routine NHS childhood immunisation programme. It involves three injections, given to babies at age two months, four months and 12 months of age, which are expected to protect children until around the age of four.
Are there any risks from the vaccine?
Like all vaccines, the MenB vaccine can cause side effects. It has been given to over 8,000 people in clinical trials and around 1m doses have been given since it was licensed with no concerns about its safety. It is more likely to cause fever in younger children than other vaccines, and so the recommendation in the UK is that paracetamol is given at the same time. Pain at the injection site is common in older children and adults.
How did the government decide who to vaccinate?
For vaccines, the government is advised by an independent scientific group, the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI). They recommend which immunisations should be given and to which people (children and adults) based on who is most likely to have the disease and how effective the vaccine is. They also have to consider how cost-effective vaccines are before they can make a recommendation.
Immunisation of children under the age of one just meets the NICE cost-effectiveness criteria but extending this to "catch up" children to the age four was found unlikely to be cost-effective in the analysis.
The current immunisation programme therefore includes vaccination of children under the age of one (and born after May 1 2015) and a booster dose at 12 months to protect toddlers until the age of four when the disease is then considered rare.