Behind the Headlines: Meningitis Vaccine Uptake at a Worrying Low

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School leavers are putting themselves at risk of deadly meningitis if they don’t have the vaccine, reports BBC News.

The Royal College of Nursing has reported that only a third of people eligible for the MenACWY vaccine took up the offer last year.

The MenACWY vaccine protects against four strains of meningococcal disease which cause meningitis and septicaemia – strains A, C, W and Y. Men W is the most aggressive and life-threatening form and can be fatal and officials say there has been a rapid increase in MenW cases across England, from 22 cases in 2009-10 to 210 cases in 2015-16.

If you were born between 1 September 1998 and 31 August 1999 and are leaving school or college, make sure you get your MenACWY vaccine. Meningitis can cause different symptoms in different people, including:

  • fever with cold hands and feet
  • vomiting
  • severe headache
  • stiff neck
  • dislike of bright lights
  • tiredness
  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • agitation
  • in some cases, convulsions or seizures

Young people who have not yet had the MenACWY vaccine remain eligible up to their 25th birthday.
Meningitis is a life-threatening medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention if suspected. Getting this vaccine and knowing the signs to look out for could save your life!

The vaccine is available free from your local GP Surgery and is a simple one-off vaccine that takes a couple of minutes and has no major side effects. Book in with your Surgery now!