Students in Cambridgeshire urged to grab a jab and protect themselves from meningitis

Students urged to have a vaccination against meningitis

Students urged to have a vaccination against meningitis - Credit: Archant

Students who are heading to university are being urged to get a free meningitis vaccination.

This group is at increased risk of getting meningococcal disease, as many of them will be mixing closely with lots of new people at university, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s public health team is welcoming the new MenACWY vaccination programme that offers teenagers protection against meningitis and septicaemia caused by four meningococcal strains including MenW.

Dr Linda Sheridan, Consultant in Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We’re encouraging all eligible teenagers to take-up the offer of a vaccination when they are contacted by their GP.

“If you’re planning to go to university or college, you should be vaccinated before the start of the academic term or before leaving home for university or college.

“First time university entrants from 19 to 24 years of age inclusive should also contact their GP for the vaccination.

“Meningitis can be deadly and survivors are often left with severe disabilities as a result of this terrible disease. This vaccine will save lives and prevent permanent disability.”

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The vaccination also protects against other forms of the disease – meningococcal disease types A, C and Y – which can also be fatal or cause long term complications for those affected.

The disease develops rapidly and early symptoms can include headache, vomiting, muscle pain and fever with cold hands and feet. Students are warned to be aware of the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and not wait for a rash to develop before seeking medical attention.

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