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Meningitis Vaccination Awareness

Over the coming months, the 2017 school leaver cohort will be invited by their GP practice for vaccination against Meningococcal ACWY conjugate vaccination (MenACWY).  Public Health England are encouraging all teenagers born between 01/09/1998-31/08/1999 to take up the vaccination when it is offered.  

Those planning to go to university should be vaccinated well before they move. New university students are at extra risk of meningococcal infection in the first weeks of term when they come into contact with many new people of a similar age. 

The vaccine helps protect those immunised against meningococcal disease which can cause meningitis (inflammation of the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning).  These conditions can kill in hours and those who recover may be left severely disabled.

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Since 2009, there has been a large increase in group W meningococcal (MenW) disease in England, resulting in several deaths in teenagers. Older teenagers and young adults who are not vaccinated are at risk of getting MenW infection, so need to get vaccinated. The vaccine also helps protect others around them.

These students may have had a MenC vaccination before but still require the MenACWY vaccine as this gives the extra protection needed. The vaccination is free and may save their life.

Finally, if students are not up to date with the MMR vaccine which helps protect against measles mumps and rubella, they should get this at the same appointment. More information about both vaccines can be found at the NHS Choices website, through speaking to the nurse or GP at their surgery or by contacting their school nurse.