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

The UK has a comprehensive childhood immunisation programme which includes vaccines that help protect against the five types of bacteria that cause most meningococcal meningitis - A, C, W, Y and B.2

No single vaccine protects against all types of meningitis.3 This is why it is important to receive the complete course of vaccination during infancy, childhood and adolescence

The MenACWY vaccine helps protect against meningitis A, C, W and Y, and is provided at school, usually to 13 to 14 year olds (school year 9).4 If you miss your vaccination at school you can receive it from your nurse or doctor.4

Vaccines offered during adolescence as part of the National Immunisation Programme2

12-13 Years

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

Two injections given 6 to 24 months apart, to help protect against cancers caused by HPV viruses

14 Years

3-in-1 teenage booster

A combined vaccine given as a single injection to boost protection against diphtheria, tetanus and polio

MenACWY vaccine

A combined vaccine given as a single injection to help protect against meningococcal groups A, C, W and Y

An important step to ensuring you receive your vaccination is the consent process. Your parent may be required to complete a form and return it to school confirming they consent to your receiving the vaccination.6

Meningitis B vaccine

The meningitis B vaccine offers protection against meningococcal group B bacteria. Meningitis B is most common in infants and young children, but there is a second peak of the disease in teenagers.5 Teenagers and young adults are more likely to carry the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease in their nose and throat than other age groups, which could contribute to a second, smaller, peak of disease in these age groups.5,7

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

Different vaccines are given at different ages. Speak to your nurse or doctor if you are not sure whether your vaccinations are up-to-date

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Vaccination is free of charge

The MenACWY vaccine is provided to adolescents free of charge by the NHS.2 Vaccinations are also available to help prevent meningitis caused by other bacteria.

References

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

2. 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

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

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

5. 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.

6. National Health Service. Meningococcal ACWY: vaccination consent form. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/menacwy-school-consent-form-and-letter-templates. Last Accessed September 2019

7. 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.

Your Risk

It's a rare infection and teenagers and young adults have the next highest incidence of meningococcal disease after babies and young children.5 Follow this link to learn about the risks of meningococcal disease for you and others.

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PP-VAC-GBR-1281 September 2019