Meningoccocal B Vaccination-GPC Briefing
As from 1 September 2015 the Men B vaccination has been added to the Childhood Immunisation Programme in England.
The programme is for all infants born on or after 1 July 2015, and consists of three doses at 2, 4 and 12 to 13 months, with a catch-up element for children born on or after 1 May 2015, who can be vaccinated up to 2 years on an opportunistic basis.
JCVI has recommend three doses of prophylactic paracetamol (2.5ml of infant paracetamol 120mg/5ml suspension) following the vaccinations at 2 and 4 months. 5 ml sachets and dosing syringes are available to order via ImmForm.
We are aware that many practices have been asked by parents to provide this vaccine privately to children outside the cohort. Although practices would be able to offer this on private script they would not be able to claim the cost of the vaccine, nor would they be able to charge the patient for providing it (as per Schedule 5 of GMS Regulations 2004 which lists the limited circumstances in which GPs may charge fees for providing treatment to their NHS patients). We would recommend that practices advise their patients requesting this to attend another practice, who are then able to charge for providing the vaccine.
Further information about the meningococcal vaccine, including a protocol for healthcare professionals for Men B and paracetamol use is available on the Public Health England website.
The service specification for this vaccination is available here and Vaccine update also has some useful information, including a parent information leaflet.
General information about all the vaccination programmes is available here
Meningococcal B for infants – FAQs
NHS Employers have updated their vaccs and imms FAQs in relation to meningococcal B for infants to explain the eligible age cohort (2 – 13 months), as well as a catch-up cohort up to 2 years for children born on or after 1 May 2015.
The FAQs also explain what practices can do if parents approach them about having children outside of the cohort vaccinated privately:
Q. Can parents or guardians whose children don’t fall into the eligible age groups get their child vaccinated against MenB? If so, how?
A. Children can be vaccinated through a private clinic that is able to obtain the vaccine from the manufacturer. However, parents or guardians should be aware that they will be responsible for the full cost of the vaccine. Under the current contract for general practice, practices are restricted from providing private services to their own NHS patients except in very specific areas, such as travel advice.
In addition to this FAQ, the GPC would like to reiterate the advice that whilst GPs can provide private prescriptions, they are not allowed to charge their own NHS patients and we would therefore recommend that patients (outside the cohort) access a comprehensive private service provided by another practice or service provider, who would then be able to charge an appropriate fee for this private service.