Last year the Government introduced a new Meningitis vaccination programme for 18-25 year olds. All first-time university students (up to the age of 25) will be offered the Men ACWY vaccine as part of this NHS vaccination programme. The Men ACWY vaccine protects against four different causes of meningitis and septicaemia – meningococcal (Men) A, C, W and Y diseases.
If you haven’t been vaccinated recently, or if you are unsure, it is important that you contact your GP to arrange vaccination. This is especially important if you plan to reside in university halls of residence or other communal/shared accommodation. However, vaccination is important for all students who will be under 25 years of age at the start of the academic year (26th September 2016).
The Men ACWY vaccine is given by a single small injection into the upper arm. As the vaccine takes a while before it becomes fully effective to ensure you are fully protected, it is important to make sure that you receive the vaccination at least two weeks before starting at university.
Why do students need the Meningitis ACWY vaccination?
Although certain strains of Meningitis are rare, cases of meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) caused by Meningitis bacteria are rising. When cases do occur the effects can be very serious and sometimes fatal. As a student, you are more at risk of getting meningitis after starting university because you will be mixing closely with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly be carrying the Meningitis bacteria.
For more information about the Men ACWY vaccine and the importance of protecting yourself against Meningitis whilst at university please visit the NHS website.
Symptoms can appear in any order - some may not appear at all. If you are at all worried, seek medical attention straight away.
Visit the Meningitis Now website for more details.
Sean Bradley, the father of Alisha Bartolini, who was a student at Liverpool Hope, talks about the importance of being aware of the dangers of Meningitis.