Be protected against meningococcal disease

Key points about Bexero

  • Bexsero is a vaccine that protects against meningococcal B.
  • Find out about Bexsero and possible side effects.
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Bexsero is a vaccine that protects against meningococcal B, a bacteria which causes meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease can develop suddenly and become deadly in just a few hours. Read more about meningococcal disease.

There are at least 12 groups of meningococcus designated with letters such as A, B, and C. In Aotearoa New Zealand, Group B causes the highest incidence of meningitis cases. Bexsero together with other meningococcal vaccines protects you against meningococcal disease and helps stop it spreading to others. Read more about meningococcal vaccines

Bexsero can be given to anyone aged 2 months or older, but it is only funded for the groups below. If you, or your tamariki, are not eligible to receive Bexsero for free, talk to your healthcare provider about whether extra protection is a good idea and what it might cost.

Bexsero is part of the childhood immunisation schedule for babies

Bexsero is part of the childhood immunisation schedule for babies and is given at age 3 months, 5 months and a booster at 12 months. It will protect your pēpi (baby) against meningococcal B.

You can have your baby immunised earlier – at 2 months, 4 months, and 12 months old. This will mean extra appointments, because other vaccines are not due at 2 and 4 months. Discuss this with your healthcare provider during your baby’s 6-week immunisations if you want to have them earlier. 

Tamariki under 5 years old

All tamariki under 5 years old, who have not had 3 doses as part of the childhood immunisation above, can catch up for free until 31 August 2025. 

The number of doses given will depend on their age.

  • Tamariki over 2 years get 2 doses, 8 weeks apart. Booster doses are funded for high-risk groups.
  • Tamariki younger than 2 years get 3 doses. The first two doses are given 8 weeks apart and a third booster dose is given 12 to 23 months after the second dose.

People aged 13 to 25 years in a close-living situation 

Bexsero is also funded for people from 13 to 25 years of age who are currently living in boarding school hostels, tertiary education halls of residence, military barracks or prisons, from 1 March 2023 until 28 February 2024 as a catch up. It is recommended that they receive 2 doses of the Bexsero vaccine – the second dose can be given 8 weeks after the first dose. Menactra® or MenQuadfi® vaccines are also recommended and is free for this group. Read more about meningococcal vaccines

Tamariki and adults with high risk medical conditions

Bexsero may also be available and free for children and adults who are at high risk of disease due to medical conditions, or people who’ve been in close contact with someone with meningococcal disease. Ask your healthcare provider for more information.

Bexsero is given by injection usually into your or your child's arm or leg muscle. For older people, it is given in the upper arm. Bexsero can be given at the same visit as other vaccines in separate syringes and at separate injection sites.

The number of doses given will depend on their age.

  • Adults and tamariki over 2 years get 2 doses, 8 weeks apart. Booster doses are funded for high-risk groups.
  • Tamariki younger than 2 years get 3 doses. The first two doses are given 8 weeks apart and a third booster dose is given 12 to 23 months after the second dose.

Like all medicines, Bexsero can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. The chance of a severe reaction from Bexsero is very small, but the risks from not being vaccinated against meningococcal disease may be very serious.


Fever can occur in some infants as part of their normal response to Bexsero, usually especially around 6 hours after immunisation and settling over 24 to 48 hours. This is more likely to happen in children under 2 years; routine use of paracetamol is recommended in this age group. 

In children under 2 years of age, give paracetamol to reduce the risk of high fever. Three doses of paracetamol are recommended. The first dose should be given from 30 minutes before Bexsero, or the vaccinator can give this at the time the injection is given or just after. The second dose of paracetamol should be given 6 hours later, and the third dose, 6 hours after that.

  • A fever over 38°C is more likely to occur in infants and children aged under 2 years after immunisation with Bexsero compared with other routinely used infant vaccines.
  • When Bexsero is administered at the same time as other vaccines, a fever over 38°C is almost twice as likely as when other vaccines are given alone.

In children over 2 years of age: Routine use of paracetamol is not recommended, but paracetamol may be given if your child is unwell or miserable with a fever.

Read more about the safe use of paracetamol in children and paracetamol use with Bexsero.    (external link)

Other ways to manage fever 

  • Dress your child lightly, with a single layer of clothing. Make sure the room is not too hot or too cold. Give lots of breastfeeds or fluids.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if the fever persists.
  • Read more about what happens after your immunisation.(external link)

Other side effects

Side effects What should I do?
  • Redness, swelling and/or mild–moderate pain around the injection site
  • These are quite common and an expected immune response to Bexsero, especially on the day of vaccination.
  • Place a cold, wet cloth or ice pack where the injection was given (the injection site). Leave it on for a short time. 
  • Don't rub the injection site.
  • These should settle from around 24 hours after immunisation.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if the pain persists.
  • Read more, after your child is immunised(external link)
  • Irritability, unusual crying
  • Feeling unwell, tired or weak
  • Decreased appetite
  • Muscle ache and/or joint pains
  • Headache
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as skin rash, itching, blisters, peeling skin, swelling of your face, lips or mouth, or having problems breathing
  • Allergic reactions to Bexsero are rare.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline 0800 611 116.
Did you know that you can report a medicine side effect to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.(external link)


  1. Bexsero(external link) Immunisation Advisory Centre
  2. MenB Bexsero quick facts(external link) Immunisation Advisory Centre


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Te reo Māori

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Meningococcal disease

Health Promotion Agency and Te Whatu Ora, NZ, 2022

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Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland

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