Be protected against meningococcal disease - HP8196

March 2023
This resource relates to the following topics:

Information about meningococcal disease, free vaccinations for those aged 13 to 25 moving into or living in a boarding school hostel, hall of residence, military barracks, or prison.
Printed copies can be ordered from the National Immunisation Programme Bluestar portal

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March 2023
March 2023
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Be protected against Meningococcal disease

Young people living closely together in places like boarding school hostels or halls of residence are at higher risk of getting meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal disease can be life-threatening. FREE vaccines are available to protect against it.

What is meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal disease is an infection caused by bacteria. It can lead to two very serious illnesses:

Meningitis – an infection of the brain membranes
Septicaemia – blood poisoning.

There are several different types of meningococcal bacteria, including A, C, W, Y and B.

Bacteria are spread in a similar way to the common cold – by coughing and sneezing, or from contact with saliva (spit).

How serious is it?

Meningococcal disease can be life-threatening.

It can develop and become deadly in just a few hours.

People who survive meningococcal disease often have serious long-term effects, including amputation of limbs, hearing loss, seizures, brain injury and permanent skin scarring.

How to protect yourself?

Vaccination protects you and helps stop it spreading to others.

Vaccines are available to protect against strains A, C, W and Y, and strain B of meningococcal disease.

You need two different vaccines:

  • one dose of the meningococcal A, C, W and Y (MenACWY) vaccine, and
  • two doses of the meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine. The second dose can be given eight weeks after the first dose.

Meningococcal vaccines are FREE for 13 to 25-year-olds moving into or living in a boarding school hostel, hall of residence, military barracks, or prison.

Get immunised again if your last meningococcal vaccinations were more than 5 years ago or you’ve never had it, remember you need both MenACWY and MenB vaccinations for best protection.

For more information about getting immunised against meningococcal disease
• talk to your GP, nurse or health centre
• call Healthline on 0800 611 116