If you were born between 1 September 1998 and 31 August 1999, you should be invited to attend your surgery for your MenACWY vaccine. This vaccine helps protect you against meningococcal disease which can cause meningitis (inflammation of the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning). These can kill in hours and those who recover may be left severely disabled.
Since 2009, there has been a large increase in group W meningococcal (MenW) disease in England, resulting in several deaths in teenagers. Older teenagers and young adults who are not vaccinated are at risk of getting MenW disease, so you need to get vaccinated to protect yourself. Vaccination helps protect you and others around you. You may have had a MenC vaccination before but you still need the MenACWY vaccine as this gives you the extra protection you need.
The vaccination is free and may save your life. If you qualify for the vaccine but has not yet be invited, please contact the surgery to disucss the immunisation with a nurse.
You may be planning to get a job or an apprenticeship, join the armed forces or go on to higher education. Whatever you do next, it is important that you get vaccinated. If you are planning to go to university you should get vaccinated well before you move. If this is not possible you should register with a new GP at university or your new location and arrange to get the vaccine there as soon as possible – ideally in your first week of term. New university students are at extra risk of meningococcal infection in the first weeks of term when they come into contact with many new people of a similar age.
Finally, if you are not up to date with the MMR vaccine which helps protect you from measles mumps and rubella you should get this at the same appointment. More information about both vaccines can be found at the NHS Choices website or through speaking to the nurse or GP in the surgery.