Why I Paid for the Meningitis B Vaccine

Why I Paid for the Meningitis B Vaccine pros cons private where to go vaccinations babies nhs

Why I Paid for the Meningitis B Vaccine

As a new parent, there are a few words that strike me with fear. One which absolutely makes my heart race with fear is “meningitis”. If you’ve been following the news over the past couple of years then you will know that there had been a call to introduce a new vaccine for meningitis b on to the NHS immunisation program. Until I had the little man, I can’t say I’d ever given meningitis much thought. I do recall my mum worrying about it though! But since b came along, the thought of meningitis has always been with me. Every high temperature he’s had, I’d fear there’d also be a rash. Every rash we encountered – was this it? Was it the type of rash that could be meningitis? There was many a time I’d get a glass out to double double check.

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Google Overload

So when I started hearing more on the news about the meningitis b vaccine, I started doing more and more googling. I know it isn’t always a good thing but at this particular time, 2014, a little girl, Harmonie-Rose, similar in age to b too, had lost all four limbs to meningitis. This story was close to home and featured on our local news. I couldn’t stop thinking about Harmonie-Rose and what she and her family had been through – were going through – and are still going through today. If there was some way I could protect my son, why wouldn’t I?

All the Questions

And so I started searching for answers to my questions. Was the vaccine safe? Was it not included in the NHS immunisation schedule simply because of the cost or because there were risk factors which the public weren’t being told about? How could I be sure that the info I was reading was reputable, true and could be trusted? Would it be released by the NHS and if so, when? And would there be a catch up for toddlers?

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate…

I started trying to answer my questions by reading a lot of websites such as the NHS and the Meningitis.org website. It seemed unanimous that the impact of meningitis can be devastating. And it was clear that meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia are still the main cause of death in children under 5 years in the UK. That statistic alone seems absolutely crazy in today’s world – but then a lot of crazy stuff goes on all the time.

So to get b vaccinated or not? I know vaccinations are a very emotive subject for many but for me, it was clear cut. If I could protect b from this awful disease then what was I waiting for? I finally came to the conclusion that yes, I would pay to have my son privately immunised with the menB vaccine.

men b injection toddlers debate meningitis pros and cons

No Catch Up

Not long after we had the vaccination, it was brought out onto the NHS. There was no catch up program for kids born before 1 May 2015 though so I knew we’d have had to pay privately anyway. If you have considered having your child vaccinated privately then you will know the cost is not cheap. We paid £250 for two vaccinations (£125 for each vaccination) and I am still trying to figure out if we need a third. We had a bit of a mix up in Boots and after checking the info on the NHS website, I don’t believe we do need another booster. I’m going to check though as I don’t fancy missing it and having to fork out for a whole new round of vaccinations.

There’s been a lot of debate too, as to whether the catch up should be offered free of charge. In a perfect world, of course it should be offered to every single child but I know it isn’t that simple and I knew I didn’t want to wait and see. If you spread the cost of the two jabs over the year, it costs just over twenty quid a month. Less than a mobile phone contract these days.

Side Effects

In terms of side effects, b was fine. He did get a mild fever but nothing some Calpol couldn’t take care of. His arm was slightly swollen and red for a few days but it didn’t overly bother him.

What are your thoughts on the MenB vaccine? Is it something you’ve considered getting for your child? Or perhaps your child was born inside of the immunisation schedule window. What have your experiences been?

Note: This post is purely a write up of my experiences, thoughts and opinions surrounding MenB and the vaccination. The post was written inline with Meningitis Awareness Week (19th – 25th September) and is not intended to cause fierce debate in the comments. A lot of the background info can be found online at NHS and Meningitis.org.

Why I Paid for the Meningitis B Vaccine pros cons private where to go vaccinations babies nhs

Linked with Marvellous Mondays


  1. I\’ve been thinking about this, to be honest it\’s not something that had crossed my mind until it became a big deal in the media, and then my 10month old had hers on the NHS, it doesn\’t seem fair that she should be protected but not my 5 year old. Because of that we\’ve been thinking about going private. Great to read your thoughts on it

  2. My baby born in 2016 so I didn\’t need to think about it but I know that ours babies health is the most important thing so I think you did everything what you should:)

  3. Great post and well done on getting the topic out there for more discussion. I was still on Mat Leave when the vaccine came out so I was, like you, reading all and everything about it. I knew it was unlikely my daughter would have it because she was born early 2015. So I found a local clinic and paid privately. Because of her age, she needed 3 vaccines (I *think* you\’re right that B only needs too – I have the full vaccine pamphlet at home so let me know if you want me to check the age table!). They cost £125 each which was a lot, but averaged out over the months it\’s not that much for the peace of mind. We were lucky though as a couple of months after we started the course, local clinics were running out and couldn\’t offer the vaccine to those who weren\’t already undergoing treatment!

    I did ask at the doctors to see if they could vaccinate her \’at cost\’ but they weren\’t allowed. I assume that was part of their negotiations to keep the cost down with the provider. It\’s a shame that some children won\’t be protected because of finances though. It would be nice to see some sort of means-tested subsidy for families with children under 5 to give everyone the opportunity.


    • Thanks for reading Angela 🙂 we were told he needed three but then when I went in to Boots, they said two. it made me think did the clinic tell us three so they could charge us for a third :/ im going to check though. you are right too about having some sort of means test. it seems unfair that people who are fortunate to afford it, can get it.

  4. We\’ve just had our second vaccine, which cost us £95 each in Boots. My little man didn\’t handle the first vaccine well, he was grumpy, sleepy, lost his appetite and had a really high temperature which made me dread the second one, luckily he was fine the second time round. There was no question as to whether we would get it done, the idea of going through what those parents went through was terrifying especially if we could have prevented it x #MarvMondays

  5. I\’ve been thinking about this vaccine recently too. I know my sister just paid for my niece to have it and I believe it\’s well worth the money. My sister had meningitis when she was 6 years old and it is such a scary disease 🙁 #MarvMondays

  6. I am with you on this. We paid £396 for two jabs for Monkey as he was over 2. I don\’t regret it one bit. We had a scare the sort of scare that sends a paramedic out and there and then I decided sod it. I\’m not sitting on the fence anymore. He was so brave! At almist 4 I explained why we were doing it and when he had the second jab he knew exactly what was coming and didn\’t even shed a tear. Bless him. I hope you sort the third jab out if you need it. Stopping by from #MarvMondays

  7. We also have had our 2 year old vaccinated. I got onto the Boots waiting list and they finally emailed a few months later. He had 2 jabs at £90 each so I think we got lucky. I was also surprised that he had no side effects as he was quite ill after his vaccinations as a baby, but so thankfuly we could get it for him. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

  8. I have been debating about this for quite some time and still can\’t decide. Some say yes, some say no, such a difficult choice. Not much information out there for older children. My boys are 6 and 4…any advice for this age?!

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