06/08/2015

School Leavers Urged To Get Meningococcal Vaccine

School leavers and first-time university students have been advised to get the new meningococcal vaccine, which helps protect against four different causes of meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning) – meningococcal A, C, W and Y diseases.

GP practices will be inviting people born between 2 July 1996 and 1 July 1997 to have the Men ACWY vaccine. First-time university students up to the age of 25 will also be offered the jab.

Vaccination programme

Symptoms to look out for include:

• fever, cold hands and feet

• vomiting and diarrhoea
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• drowsiness, difficult to wake up

• irritability and/ or confusion

• dislike of bright lights

• severe headache or muscle pains

• pale, blotchy skin with or without a rash

• convulsions/ seizures

• stiff neck

Both diseases are very serious and, especially if not diagnosed early, they can kill.

The early symptoms of meningococcal disease are similar to those of flu, so you need to be able to recognise the symptoms very quickly even if you have been vaccinated, as the vaccines offered through the routine immunisation programme do not protect against all forms of the disease.

(MH)

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