Meningitis Vaccine Free to 17-18 Year Olds

Published on 27 Jul

Many of you will be thinking “why do I need to be vaccinated against meningitis”. Meningitis has both far reaching and debilitating health effects and can lead to death.  It is rapid onset and the symptoms can be hard to spot, as they can be similar to other common ailments. You should look out for unusual drowsiness, fever, cold hands and feet, a rash that does not go away under pressure (e.g. a glass), stiff neck and others. Not all symptoms are present every time.  We have personal experience of this, when on holiday our son was difficult to wake and “floppy”, with extreme sensitivity to light. The quick thinking of Louise and a registrar at Dorchester Infirmary saved his life. Three weeks in Southampton General and mycoplasma meningitis was diagnosed via a complex DNA test.

Meningitis can strike at any age, but is alarmingly common in teenagers and those going to University.  The close confines of halls (coughing, sneezing and kissing) coupled with the fact that over a quarter of the students carry the bacteria (normally kept in check) means transfer is likely.

Meningitis comes in several types, for example bacterial, viral and others. This vaccine, the Men ACWY vaccine, is active against four subtypes of bacterial meningitis. It is Men A that is of particular concern, as it is showing a significant rise in incidence. The vaccine uptake is low, 33% last year…please don’t be complacent, make an appointment with your GP and get the vaccine as soon as possible. It’s free!

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