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Young Adults

You can reduce the risk of getting meningococcal meningitis by ensuring your vaccinations are up-to-date1

Licenced vaccines are available that help protect against the five types of bacteria that cause most meningococcal meningitis - A, C, W, Y and B.2 Some young adults may not have received the MenACWY vaccination which is now offered in schools to 13 and 14 year olds, and may be entitled to receive this vaccination free of charge from the NHS.3 Because of this, it is important to talk to your GP to find out whether your vaccinations are up to date.

All young adults born between 1 September 1998 and 31 August 1999 are advised to arrange vaccination now with their GP3

In addition, anyone born on or after 1 September 1996 who missed their routine school vaccination in school years 9 and 10 or the catch-up MenACWY vaccination can get the vaccine from their GP up to their 25th birthday. You are also eligible if you are 25 or younger and starting university for the first time and have not yet had the MenACWY vaccination.3

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If you are not entitled to receive the MenACWY vaccination on the NHS

If you are not eligible to receive the MenACWY vaccination on the NHS, you can still help protect yourself against meningococcal meningitis by having a private vaccination. Private vaccinations are generally available from pharmacists, travel clinics and private clinics.

No single vaccine protects against all types of meningitis.2 This is why it is important to keep your vaccinations up-to date.

Meningitis B vaccine

The meningitis B vaccine offers protection against meningococcal group B bacteria.2 Meningitis B is most common in infants, but there is a second peak of the disease in older teenagers and young adults.4 Teenagers and young adults are more likely to carry the bacteria in their nose and throat than other age groups, which could contribute to a second, smaller, peak of disease in these age groups.4,5

The meningitis B vaccine is not currently offered free of charge through the NHS for young adults 6 but may be available from your pharmacist or GP as a private vaccination. Speak to your nurse, doctor or pharmacist to see whether you would benefit from vaccination against meningitis B.

References

1. National Health Service. Meningitis: causes. www.nhs.uk/conditions/meningitis/causes/ Last Accessed September 2019

2. National Health Service. Meningitis: vaccination. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/meningitis/vaccination/ Last Accessed September 2019

3. National Health Service. MenACWY vaccine. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/men-acwy-vaccine/ Last Accessed September 2019

4. Parikh SR, et al. Epidemiology, clinical presentation, risk factors, intensive care admission and outcomes of invasive meningococcal disease in England, 2010-2015. Vaccine. 2018;36(26):3876–81. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.02.038.

5. Christensen H, et al. Meningococcal carriage by age: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2010;10(12):853–61. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(10)70251-6.

6. National Health Service. Routine childhood immunisations. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/817309/Routine_Childhood_Immunisation_Schedule_Autumn_2019.pdf. Last Accessed September 2019

Your Risk

It's a rare disease and teenagers and young adults have the next highest incidence of meningococcal disease after babies and young children.4 Follow this link to learn about the risks of meningococcal disease for you and others.

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PP-VAC-GBR-1282 September 2019