Parents of UK teenagers are being urged to make sure their youngsters have a jab to protect them against meningitis before heading off to university this autumn…reports Asian Lite News
The appeal comes following a Department of Health in June that the Men ACWY vaccine is being offered to all 17 and 18-year-olds from this month.
GP practices are sending out letters telling youngsters in the age group the vaccine is available. The same age groups will also be offered the vaccine in 2016 and 2017.
Fall university entrants, aged 19 to 25, are being offered the jab to combat a rise in MenW cases in young people. It is estimated that one in six cases of meningococcal disease occurs in 15 to 24-year-olds.
Sue Davie, chief executive at the charity Meningitis Now said: “With the increase in MenW cases among this age group, it is more important than ever for parents to ensure that their children are protected.
“In order to meet this need, we have developed a highly-focused campaign designed to reach out to parents, grandparents and legal guardians.”
The campaign, called Off to Uni, includes information leaflets, new signs-and-symptoms cards and branded wristbands, which can all be downloaded or ordered online.
Ms Davie added: “The campaign aims to ensure that loved ones heading off to university this autumn are not complacent about meningitis and take the necessary steps to protect themselves, stay vigilant and seek immediate medical help if they suspect the disease.”
Students are particularly vulnerable to meningitis due to close contact in shared accommodation, such as halls of residence, and exposure to bacteria and viruses that their bodies may not have met before.
Early symptoms of meningitis can be mistaken for common illnesses such as flu or hangovers, especially at the start of term when so many students are suffering from “fresher’s flu”.
Ms Davie said: “There are still strains without vaccines and there will still be people who are not protected by these vaccine programmes. “It’s vital to learn the signs and symptoms, stay vigilant and seek immediate medical help if you suspect the disease.”
For more information, call 01453 768006, Freephone 0808 80 10 388 or visit: www.MeningitisNow.org