Students going to university for the first time should ensure they havee had the MenACWY vaccine. It protects against 4 strains of the meningococcal bacteria – A, C, W and Y, which cause meningitis and septicaemia.
At what age should teenagers and young people have the vaccine?
Children aged 13 to 15 (School Years 9 or 10) are routinely offered the MenACWY vaccine in school alongside the 3-in-1 teenage booster.
Anyone born on or after 1st September 1996 who was eligible but missed their teenage MenACWY vaccine can still have the vaccine up to their 25th birthday.
How is the vaccine given?
The MenACWY vaccine is is called Nimenrix and isgiven by a single injection into the upper arm
Why should teenagers and students should have the MenACWY vaccine?
Older teenagers and new university students are at higher risk of infection because many of them will mix closely with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria at the back of their nose and throat.
Meningococcal disease, although rare is life-threatening! Anyone who is eligible for the MenACWY vaccine should have it, even if they have previously had the MenC vaccine.
How effective is the MenACWY vaccine?
The MenACWY vaccine is highly effective against serious infections caused by 4 different strains of meningococcal (A, C, W and Y).
The MenACWY vaccine protects teenagers when they are most at risk of meningococcal disease. It also stops them carrying and spreading the bacteria to other people, including babies and older people.
What are the side effects of the vaccine?
Like all vaccines, the MenACWY vaccine can cause some side effects, but they are generally mild and short-lived.
Common side effects include:
- redness, hardening and itching at the injection site
- a high temperature (above 38C)
- feeling sick (nausea)
- tiredness (fatigue)
Sometimes a small, painless lump develops at the injection site, but this usually disappears after a few weeks.
Who should not have the MenACWY vaccine?
You should not have the MenACWY vaccine if you are allergic to the vaccine or any of its ingredients.
It is advisable that you check with your GP or nurse before having the MenACWY vaccine if you:
- have a bleeding problem, such as haemophilia, or bruise easily
- have a high temperature
- are pregnant or breastfeeding