Meningococcal B Immunisation Program
The State Government Meningococcal B (MenB) Immunisation Program provides free MenB (Bexsero®) vaccines to children and young people who are residents of South Australia and have a Medicare card.
Young adult catch-up program
- Who's eligible? Young adults who were aged 17 to less than 21 years when the program started on 1 February 2019.
- Program ends on 29 February 2020.
- Young adults who have their first dose of Bexsero during the catch-up period can complete their second dose with a funded vaccine, even if after the catch-up program deadline.
- Those who are eligible can receive their immunisation through their GP or immunisation provider.
Childhood catch-up program
- This program ended on 31 December 2019.
- Eligible children included those aged over 12 months to less than four years when the program started on 1 October 2018.
- Children who started a course of Bexsero during the catch-up period can still complete the course with a funded vaccine/s, even if after the catch-up program deadline.
Ongoing programs in 2020
- The childhood program is offered to those aged 6 weeks to 12 months of age.
- The school program is offered to students in Year 10.
Childhood program: 6 weeks to 12 months
- Children commencing the vaccine schedule between 6 weeks and less than 12 months of age require 3 doses in total (2 primary doses and 1 booster dose).
- Bexsero should be routinely administered at 6 weeks, 4 and 12 months of age. This aligns with the usual schedule points for National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccines.
- Bexsero can be safely administered with other NIP vaccines.
Fever (≥ 38.5°C) in young children aged less than 2 years is a common and expected adverse event following Bexsero administration. Paracetamol is recommended with every dose of Bexsero for those aged less than 2 years.
The 1st dose of paracetamol is recommended within 30-minutes prior to, or as soon as practicable after, vaccination. This is followed by two more doses of paracetamol given 6 hours apart, even if the child does not have a fever. Doses of paracetamol should be administered as per manufacturer’s guidelines. Refer to the Managing possible fever after meningococcal B vaccine administration (PDF 44KB).
School program: Students in year 10
- Students in Year 10 will be offered the Bexsero vaccine as part of the school immunisation program.
- 2 doses with a minimum interval of 8 weeks between doses.
- Bexsero can be safely administered with NIP vaccines.
Further information for consumers
Information for parents regarding the Meningococcal B Immunisation Program is available in the Consumer – Frequently Asked Questions (PDF 196KB).
Information for health professionals
Childhood program administration principles and recommendations:
- Bexsero can be safely administered with other NIP vaccines.
- It is recommended to administer Bexsero in a separate limb to other vaccines. For example at the 6 week and 4 month schedule points, administer Bexsero in the left leg and Prevenar 13® and Infanrix Hexa® in the right leg. Injections should be separated by 2.5cm.
- All scheduled vaccines should be administered in one visit, if possible.
- If all vaccines cannot be administered at one visit, prioritise the administration of vaccines contained on the NIP.
- If all scheduled NIP vaccines cannot be given in one visit, prioritise the antigens not previously given, for
example MMR at the 12 month schedule point.
- If deferring some vaccines all outstanding vaccines can be given a minimum of 3 days later.
- Administer Bexsero in the left limb. This will enable the easy detection of any possible injection site reactions from Bexsero, and forms part of the vaccine safety plan implemented to support and monitor the Meningococcal B Immunisation Program. Recommended sites of administration:
- infants less than 12 months of age - left anterolateral thigh
- Those 12 months of age and older - left deltoid.
- Prophylactic use of paracetamol is recommended with every dose of Bexsero for those less than 2 years of age.
- Parents should be able to confidently manage fever post vaccination with the information provided and may require education on how to administer paracetamol.
Always check the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) to check if any doses of a meningococcal B vaccine have already been administered.
Vaccines must only be reconstituted with the diluent supplied. Never mix separate vaccines together.
To be eligible to receive funded Bexsero vaccine, immunisation service providers are required to demonstrate adequate vaccine storage, monitoring and cold chain management processes.
The SA Health Immunisation Section will assess this by providers completing an online survey. If you are an immunisation provider in South Australia and have not received an email providing the link to the survey, contact the Vaccine Distribution Centre on 08 742 57139.
If requirements are met - providers are notified by email and can commence ordering Bexsero vaccine.
If requirements are not met - providers are individually contacted regarding the steps required to gain access to Bexsero vaccine.
Reporting an AEFI
Reporting an adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) is an essential part of ensuring ongoing vaccine safety monitoring. To report any AEFI which are serious (e.g hospitalisation is required) or unexpected or unresolved or prolonged:
complete the online Vaccine Reaction Reporting Form - Adverse Event Following Immunisation, or
contact the Immunisation Section on 1300 232 272.
The below resources have been developed to assist immunisation providers in the delivery of this program:
Health Professional - Frequently asked Questions (PDF 352KB) - updated November 2019.
Emergency department/GP poster (PDF 64KB) – Reminder for clinicians that vaccine related fever should be considered a possible cause of fever in infants and young children (to be placed in clinical area and not the waiting room).
Further information is available in the Frequently Asked Questions for health professionals (PDF 352KB).
Men B Herd Immunity Study
Individuals who were in Year 10, 11 and 12 in 2017 and 2018 may have already had the meningococcal B vaccination through the Meningococcal B Vaccine Herd Immunity Study-“B Part of It”.
Check with the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) or with your B Part of it Immunisation Provider to check immunisation history.
For more information visit B Part of it.