New meningitis vaccine for students and children

Jab Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Children and students can get the jab from their GP

Young people have been urged to have a new vaccine protecting them from potentially life-threatening meningitis.

The advice from Wales' chief medical officer Dr Ruth Hussey comes after a rise in meningococcal group W cases.

Available from Monday, it replaces the meningitis C vaccine and also offers protection from A and Y strains of the disease.

Children aged 13 to 18 and students are eligible.

Dr Hussey said secondary school-aged children were at an increased risk of getting the disease and said those who have already had the MenC vaccine should get the latest jab too.

All students under 25 who are attending university for the first time in the autumn are advised to get the vaccine from their GP surgery at least two weeks before they start.

People born between 1 September, 1996, and 31 August, 1997, can get it from their GP, while younger people will have it at their surgery or in school in the next two years.

What is meningitis?

•Meningitis is an infection of the meninges - the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord

•Meningococcal bacteria are common and carried harmlessly in the nose or throat by about one in 10 people

•They are passed on through close contact

•Anyone can get meningitis but babies and young children are most vulnerable

•Symptoms include a high fever with cold hands and feet, agitation, confusion, vomiting and headaches.

Q&A: Meningitis B vaccine

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