Young people urged to get Meningitis vaccination

Published Thursday 28 April 2022 at 13:46

Young people from Blackburn with Darwen are being urged to get vaccinated against Meningitis.

The call from Public Health bosses comes as cases of Meningitis ACWY have been increasing in teenagers.

A new report from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), states that between September and November 2021, 41.5% of meningitis cases occurred among those aged 15 to 19, compared with 11.8% and 14.3% during the same period in 2018 and 2019 respectively

The Meningitis ACWY vaccine is recommended for young teenagers, sixth formers and “fresher” students going to university for the first time.

Young people going on to university or college are particularly at risk of meningitis and septicaemia because they mix with so many other students, some of whom are unknowingly carrying the bacteria.

Meningitis can be a serious and life-threatening infection. While most people recover, some can die and others may suffer permanent disability as a result, including brain damage, epilepsy, hearing loss, or the loss of limbs.

Anyone aged up to 25 who is starting university is also urged to get vaccinated by their GP. This should take place ideally before term starts to ensure immunity. But anyone can still get the jab from their new GP in their college town.

Abdul Razaq, Blackburn with Darwen’s Director of Public Health, said:

These cases among young people and students in England are rising and are higher than pre-pandemic levels. Protecting young people from this potentially deadly disease is vitally important. The vaccination can save lives and prevent lifelong devastating disability.

This disease can develop suddenly and progress rapidly. Early symptoms include headache, vomiting, muscle pain, fever, and cold hands and feet. Young people and their parents and carers should be alert to the signs and symptoms and should not wait for a rash to develop before seeking medical attention urgently.

The vaccine not only protects those who are vaccinated, but also helps control the spread of the disease among the wider population. I would urge all our young people to get the vaccine from their GP.”

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