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Safety of meningococcal group B vaccination in hospitalised premature infants

Abstract

Objectives To assess the risk of significant adverse events in premature infants receiving the novel 4-component group B meningococcal vaccine (4CMenB) with their routine immunisations at 2 months of age.

Participants, design and setting In December 2015, Public Health England requested neonatal units across England to voluntarily participate in a national audit; 19 units agreed to participate. Anonymised questionnaires were completed for infants receiving 4CMenB alongside their routine immunisations. For comparison, a historical cohort of premature infants receiving their primary immunisations without 4CMenB or paracetamol prophylaxis was used.

Main outcome measures Paracetamol use; temperature, cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological status before and after vaccination; and management and investigations postvaccination, including serum C reactive protein levels, infection screens and antibiotic use.

Results Complete questionnaires were returned for 133 premature infants (<35 weeks’ gestation) who received their first dose of 4CMenB at 8 weeks of age, including 108 who received prophylactic paracetamol according to national recommendations. Overall, 7% (8/108) of infants receiving 4CMenB with paracetamol had fever (>38°C) after vaccination compared with 20% (5/25) of those receiving 4CMenB without paracetamol (P=0.06) and none of those in the historical cohort. There were no significant differences between cohorts in the proportion of infants with apnoea, bradycardia, desaturation and receiving respiratory support after vaccination.

Conclusions 4CMenB does not increase the risk of serious adverse events in hospitalised premature infants. This audit supports the current national recommendations to offer 4CMenB with other routine vaccinations and prophylactic paracetamol to premature infants at their chronological age.

  • 4cmenb vaccine
  • infant, premature
  • apnoea
  • fever

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