Meningococcal bacteria can cause meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia). There are 12 known capsular groups. In Northern Ireland, meningococcal groups A,B, C, W and Y are the most common.
Meningococcal bacteria can cause:
- meningitis (inflammation of the lining in the brain)
- septicaemia (blood poisoning) often leading to a rash of dark spots
Meningitis can cause death or long-term health problems including:
- learning difficulties
To read meningitis signs and symptoms, go to:
You got meningitis vaccination as a child
You might have had a meningitis vaccination in childhood. But your immunity to the disease decreases and your risk of catching the disease increases.
Men ACWY vaccination
The Men ACWY vaccine helps protect you against four different causes of meningitis and septicaemia; meningococcal groups A, C, W and Y disease. You only need one dose of the vaccine. You get the vaccine as a single injection in the upper arm.
The vaccine replaces the MenC vaccination given annually at school to all pupils in year 11.
People at risk of MenW infection
Older teenagers and first year university students often mix with large groups of people. They are exposed to different infections and diseases.
If you're in one of these groups, you are at higher risk of getting infected with Men W disease. You need to get vaccinated to help protect yourself against infection. Vaccination also reduces the risk of you carrying the bacteria.
Young people eligible for the Men ACWY vaccine
Young people born between 2 July 1996 and 1 July 2001 are eligible for the vaccine. If you aren't planning to go to university, it is still important to get the vaccine. You only need to get the Men ACWY vaccine once.
If you haven't yet received the vaccine, you can ask your GP.
Young people starting university
Various sub groups of meningococcal disease can spread quickly in areas where people live closely to each other:
- in university halls of residence
- in shared accommodation
If you’re aged 25 or under, about to start university and haven’t yet had Men ACWY vaccination, you should ask your GP for the vaccine.
You need to get the vaccine at least two weeks before you start university.
If you don’t get the vaccine before going to university
Contact a GP in the university health centre and arrange to get the vaccine.
Information about Men ACWY vaccination
You can ask your GP, practice nurse or university health centre for more information about the vaccine.