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 disease, so you need to get vaccinated to protect yourself. Vaccination helps protect you and others around you. You may have had a MenC vaccination before but you still need the MenACWY vaccine as this gives you the extra protection you need.
The vaccination is free and may save your life.
You may be planning to get a job or an apprenticeship, join the armed forces or go on to higher education. Whatever you do next, it is important that you get vaccinated. If you are planning to go to university you should get vaccinated well before you move. If this is not possible you should register with a new GP at university or your new location and arrange to get the vaccine there as soon as possible – ideally in your first week of term. 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.
Finally, if you are not up to date with the MMR vaccine which helps protect you from measles mumps and rubella you should get this at the same appointment. More information about both vaccines can be found at the NHS Choices website or through speaking to the nurse in the surgery.
In addition the following individuals should be immunised opportunistically with MenACWY conjugate vaccine if they present before their 25th birthday:
• Anyone born on or after 01/09/1996 who has missed routine school (administered in school years 9/10 at 13-15 years) or catch-up MenACWY vaccination;
• New entrants to higher education (university freshers) who have not yet been immunised with MenACWY vaccine.
MenACWY vaccine should be given to all eligible individuals who have not received this vaccine regardless of their MenC vaccination history.