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Have you had your meningitis vaccine yet?


Students back at university after Christmas are urged to get vaccinated against meningitis and septicaemia.

Whether you were a new student in September 2016 or are just joining the University, it’s really important that you get this done as soon as possible – your GP may have sent you a letter inviting you to book an appointment to get vaccinated at your local practice.

Public Health England (PHE) is reminding unvaccinated first year students to get immunised now against meningococcal disease, as it issues updated advice to universities on reducing the spread of this deadly infection.

PHE introduced the vaccination programme in 2015 to tackle a sharp increase in a particularly virulent strain of meningococcal W disease (Men W) that poses a high risk for new students.

All 17 and 18 year olds and first time students up to the age of 25 are eligible for the Men ACWY vaccine as part of the NHS vaccination programme. 

Why do I need to have the vaccine?

Cases of meningitis and septicaemia are on the increase, and living in shared accommodation puts university students at a higher risk of infection. If it’s diagnosed early, the vast majority of cases will make a full recovery. However, it can be fatal if left untreated, so it’s important to take precautions. You can stay safe and help those around you by getting your vaccine and learning about how to spot meningitis symptoms in others. 

I'm not a fresher - can I still get the vaccine?

If you're a student who hasn't been protected against meningitis and you're aged 25 or under, you can still get vaccinated. Contact your GP and ask for the Men ACWY vaccine.

I haven't had my vaccination but I've already moved in - is it too late?

No, but you need to get booked in as soon as possible. Get registered with a local practice today and ask them to arrange a Men ACWY vaccination for you.

What are the symptoms to look out for?

If you or somebody you know has the following symptoms, seek medical advice immediately: 

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Cold hands and feet 

You may also see a red rash developing. A meningitis rash looks like lots of tiny red pinpricks and will not fade under pressure (if you press a glass against the skin, for example). This is a later development however, and if you see the signs in the list above it’s very important that you get medical help straight away. Don’t wait for the rash to develop. 

You can find more information on the following NHS pages, and here on the Meningitis Now web site.

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