Teenagers and "fresher" students going to university for the first time are advised to have a vaccination to prevent meningitis and septicaemia, which can be deadly.
What is the MenACWY vaccine?
The MenACWY vaccine is given by a single injection into the upper arm and protects against 4 different strains of the meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia): A, C, W and Y.
The MenACWY vaccine is called Nimenrix.
At what age should teenagers and young people have the vaccine?
The MenACWY vaccination is being offered to teenagers and also to first-time college and university students who haven't already had the vaccination.
Children aged 13 to 14 (school year 9) are being offered the MenACWY vaccine in school as part of the routine adolescent schools programme, alongside the 3-in-1 teenage booster, and as a direct replacement for the Men C vaccination.
The MenACWY vaccine provides important protection, and all teenagers born between 1 September 1998 and 31 August 1999 are advised to arrange vaccination now with their GP.
In addition, anyone born on or after 1 September 1996 who missed their routine school vaccination in school years 9 and 10 or the catch-up MenACWY vaccination can get the vaccine from their GP up to their 25th birthday.
Students going to university or college for the first time, including overseas and mature students, who have not yet had the MenACWY vaccine remain eligible up to their 25th birthday.
They should contact their GP to have the MenACWY vaccine before starting university or college. If that's not possible, they should have it as soon as they can after they arrive.
Why teenagers and students should have the MenACWY vaccination
Cases of meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia) caused by a highly virulent strain of Men W bacteria have been rising since 2009.
Older teenagers and new university students are at higher risk of infection because many of them mix closely with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria at the back of their noses and throats.
Anyone who is eligible for the MenACWY vaccine should have it, even if they've previously had the Men C vaccine.
The MenACWY vaccine is highly effective in preventing illness caused by the 4 meningococcal strains, including the highly virulent Men W strain.
For more information about Men ACWY please click on the link below:
For Patient Information Leaflets please click on the link below:
MenACWY School Years 9 & 10
MenACWY University Freshers