UK teenagers urged to receive free meningitis vaccine
Anyone 18 or 19 can receive the MenACWY vaccine without charge.
"As Christmas draws near, we are approaching the peak time for meningitis and septicaemia,” Meningitis Research Foundation CEO Vinny Smith said. “This is a great opportunity for students who haven’t already had the MenACWY vaccine to start the New Year protected against this deadly strain. But remember, meningitis and septicaemia strike fast, and some strains can’t be prevented. It’s important to know the symptoms and be prepared to act quickly if you get ill or if you are worried about someone who is ill."
Launched in August, the new MenACWY vaccine is now a part of the UK.. vaccination program. The purpose of the vaccine is to protect teenagers from the four most-common strains of meningococcal disease.
There has been a drastic rise in meningococcal cases, most of which are caused by a highly aggressive group W meningococcal disease strain. From 2009 to 2010, there were just 22 MenW cases; but from 2014 to 2015 there have been 176.
“As students head home for the winter break, we urge them to contact their GP to get vaccinated, if they haven’t already done so,” Mary Ramsay, PHE's head of Immunization, said. “We must all remain alert to the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and seek urgent medical attention if there is any concern. The disease develops rapidly and early symptoms can include headache, vomiting, muscle pain and fever with cold hands and feet. Be aware of all signs and symptoms and trust your instincts: don’t wait for a rash to develop before seeking urgent medical attention.”