North Yorkshire County Council is advising teenagers – including students going to university for the first time - to have a simple vaccination to guard against meningitis, which can be deadly.

The free vaccine is called MenACWY and it protects against four different strains of the meningococcal bacteria

The free vaccine is called MenACWY and it protects against four different strains (A, C, W and Y)  of the meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and/or blood poisoning (septicaemia). 

 

Kathryn Ingold, consultant in public health for North Yorkshire, said: “Cases of meningitis and blood poisoning caused by a highly virulent strain of MenW bacteria have been rising over the past eight years and older teenagers and new university students are at higher risk of infection because many of them mix closely with lots of 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 earlier MenC vaccine. The MenACWY vaccine is highly effective in prevent

The free vaccine is called MenACWY and it protects against four different strains (A, C, W and Y)  of the meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and/or blood poisoning (septicaemia). 

Kathryn Ingold, consultant in public health for North Yorkshire, said: “Cases of meningitis and blood poisoning caused by a highly virulent strain of MenW bacteria have been rising over the past eight years and older teenagers and new university students are at higher risk of infection because many of them mix closely with lots of 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 earlier MenC vaccine. The MenACWY vaccine is highly effective in preventing illness caused by the four meningococcal strains, including the virulent MenW strain.”

 Schoolchildren aged 13 to 14 (school year nine) are being offered the MenACWY vaccine as part of the routine adolescent schools programme, alongside the three-in-one teenage booster, and as a direct replacement for the MenC vaccination. 

 All teenagers and young people who were 14 years of age on or after 1 April 2012 who missed this or other meningitis vaccinations at school are advised to arrange vaccination now with their GP. Individuals can get the vaccine from their GP up to their 25th birthday.

 Kathryn said: “Students going to university for the first time, including overseas and mature students, who have not yet had the MenACWY vaccine, remain eligible up to their 25th birthday, even if they have previously had the MenC vaccine.

 “They should contact their GP to have the MenACWY vaccination as soon as possible before starting their course. If they can’t do that, they should arrange to have this done as soon as they can after they star.t”

 County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, North Yorkshire’s executive member for public health and prevention, said: “We would strongly encourage young people in North Yorkshire to take up this free offer, to keep themselves safe when they go to university.”

ing illness caused by the four meningococcal strains, including the virulent MenW strain.”

 

Schoolchildren aged 13 to 14 (school year nine) are being offered the MenACWY vaccine as part of the routine adolescent schools programme, alongside the three-in-one teenage booster, and as a direct replacement for the MenC vaccination. 

 

All teenagers and young people who were 14 years of age on or after 1 April 2012 who missed this or other meningitis vaccinations at school are advised to arrange vaccination now with their GP. Individuals can get the vaccine from their GP up to their 25th birthday.

 

Kathryn said: “Students going to university for the first time, including overseas and mature students, who have not yet had the MenACWY vaccine, remain eligible up to their 25th birthday, even if they have previously had the MenC vaccine.

 

“They should contact their GP to have the MenACWY vaccination as soon as possible before starting their course. If they can’t do that, they should arrange to have this done as soon as they can after they star.t”

 

County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, North Yorkshire’s executive member for public health and prevention, said: “We would strongly encourage young people in North Yorkshire to take up this free offer, to keep themselves safe when they go to university.”

This story was published 9 August 2018