Changes to the Primary Childhood Immunisation Programme and advice about administration of liquid infant paracetamol 

November 2016
The PSI and HSE National Immunisation Office (NIO) highlight the following important information to all pharmacists about administration of liquid infant paracetamol after Meningococcal B vaccination.

Meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine and rotavirus oral vaccine have been added to the Primary Childhood Immunisation Programme for all babies born on or after 1 October 2016.

This means that from December 2016 babies will start to receive the MenB vaccine  at their 2, 4 and 12 month vaccination visits, and rotavirus oral vaccine at their 2 and 4 month vaccination visits.

Summary of Key Points

  • When MenB vaccine is given with the other Primary Childhood Immunisation vaccines at 2 and 4 months there is a higher risk that the baby will develop a fever.
  • For this reason, the Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland recommend that babies at their 2 and 4 month vaccination visits receive 3 doses of liquid infant paracetamol. The first dose (2.5ml/60mg) should be given at or just after the vaccine is given. Dose 2 should be given 4-6 hours after dose 1, and dose 3 should be given a further 4-6 hours after dose 2.
  • This information differs from the information in the package leaflet for liquid infant paracetamol which states that babies aged 2-3 months should not be given more than 2 doses of paracetamol.
  • Ibuprofen is NOT recommended.
  • Paracetamol does NOT need to be routinely given at the 12 month MenB vaccine.
  • With the exception of MenB vaccine, the Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland do not recommend the routine use of paracetamol for pain and fever after vaccinations.
  • Pharmacists should actively inform all parents and caregivers whose babies will receive the MenB vaccine of the new recommendations for paracetamol following vaccination, and that these differ from the package leaflet in liquid paracetamol products.

Information you should know

Expand all

  • What are the Changes to the Primary Childhood Immunisation Programme?

  • What additional risk is there when MenB vaccine is given?

  • What is the pharmacist’s role in providing advice to parents and caregivers?

  • What are the new recommendations regarding administration of paracetamol following MenB vaccination?

  • At what dose, and how often, should liquid infant paracetamol be given?

  • How does this differ from the information in the Package Leaflet for liquid infant paracetamol?

  • What if fever continues or a baby is unwell following vaccination?

  • What is the advice about antipyretics and other Primary Childhood Immunisation vaccines?

  • Where can I find further information?

Information and Resources

  • The Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland are published by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and are available on the HSE immunisation website.
  • Information is given to parents/guardians of children receiving vaccinations and each of those leaflets set out the common reactions expected after vaccine in the different age groups and provide advice on the use of paracetamol and ibuprofen. Click to view each of the leaflets:  primary childhood vaccination leaflet  ¦  primary school vaccination leaflet  ¦ secondary school vaccination leaflet
  • The HSE health promotion website includes useful posters and leaflets about vaccinations, including a summary poster about paracetamol administration at the time of the MenB vaccination. It is recommended that you print this so it is available for easy reference by all pharmacy staff members.