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Students Urged To Take Free Meningitis Vaccination Before Heading Back To Uni

The call once again comes after the new vaccination which was released in August

Teenagers born between September 1 1996 and August 31 1997 are urged to contact their doctors in a bid to fend off an anticipated rise in cases during the winter months.

Meningococcal disease can lead to meningitis and blood poisoning and is particularly common among groups of students who live in close contact, so the warning is especially potent for students living in halls.

Both diseases can kill or lead to serious health problems including brain damage, loss of sight or hearing and loss of limbs.

In the most recent case, two years ago, a Bournemouth teenager died from the disease.

Public Health England (PHE) is urging students to contact their GPs before they return to their university halls of residence after the festive break.

The call for students to get vaccinated follows the introduction of a new MenACWY vaccination programme in August that offers teenagers protection against four common meningococcal strains.

The MenACWY vaccine was introduced this year in response to a rapid increase in cases of a highly aggressive strain of group W meningococcal disease. Cases of MenW have been increasing year-on-year, from 22 cases in 2009/10 to 176 in 2014/15. It is currently responsible for around a quarter of all laboratory-confirmed meningococcal cases in England.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: “Think of it as a New Year’s resolution and keep yourself and your friends safe by getting vaccinated."

"Meningitis can be deadly and survivors are often left with severe disabilities as a result of this terrible disease. Encouraging your son or daughter to have the MenACWY vaccine could save their life, or prevent them from permanent disability."

  • Date published: 28th December 2015