Vaccinations: Should you give your baby vaccinations?
Vaccination: Meningitis C (MenC)

Vaccination: Meningitis C (MenC)

Vaccination: Meningitis C (MenC)

Protects against: Meningitis C (meningococcal type C)
Age: Given at 3 and 4 months, followed by a booster combined with the Hib vaccine at 12 months
Name: Meningitec
Manufacturer: Wyeth
Prevents against: Meningitis C (does not protect against meningitis A or B or meningitis caused by other bacteria or viruses)

The lowdown
The UK was the first country to introduce the conjugate meningitis C vaccine. Since 1999, the MenC vaccine has been part of the routine childhood immunisation programme and uptake levels have been close to 90%.

HPA figures show there were only 13 cases of Meningitis C in 2008/09 compared to 955 in 1998/99 - a decline of 99% believed to be largely due to the use of meningococcal C vaccine.

Symptoms of meningitis, such as neck pain/stiffness and photophobia, have been reported following administration of MenC conjugate vaccines. The patient information leaflet for Meningitec says: “In the event of petechiae and/or purpura {red spots} following vaccination, the cause should be thoroughly investigated. Both infective and non-infective causes should be considered.”

This explains why paediatric wards sometimes get babies presenting with ‘meningitis’ shortly after their jabs, although the official line is that the vaccine cannot cause the disease.

Side effects
Common reactions include swelling and redness at the injection site, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, drowsiness, irritability and crying. About one in four toddlers may have disturbed sleep; one in 20 may develop a mild fever.

Rarer side effects include swollen glands, dizziness, fainting or seizures, pins and needles or numb sensations, nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain, aching joints, skin reactions such as rasheshives or itching. No studies on long term side effects exist.

Consult your doctor before this vaccination if your baby has had any of the following:

  • Sudden feverish illness
  • Known sensitivity to vaccines containing diphtheria toxoid
  • Personal or family history of febrile convulsions
  • Haemophilia or low levels of platelets in blood
  • A form of kidney disease called the nephrotic syndrome

What’s in it: Neisseria meningitidis (strain C11), serogroup C oligosaccharide, conjugated to corynebacterium diphtheria CRM197 carrier protein, aluminium phosphate, sodium chloride, water
Image © Digital Vision

Parenting Editor
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