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5 Facts About Meningitis ACWY Vaccine

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1. Who is offered the vaccine?
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All year 9 pupils will be offered Meningitis ACWY, which is given a single injection. The MenACWY was added to the national immunisation programme in 2015. It protects against four different types of meningitis.

Read more about the vaccines you are offered at secondary school.

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2. What's meningitis?
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Meningitis is swelling of the lining of the brain caused by a virus or bacteria, and could also result from an injury.

As well as swelling of the lining of the brain, a meningococcal infection can lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning), which can be very serious, and life threatening especially if not treated quickly.

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3. Where do I get the vaccine?
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Depending on your age, this vaccine may be offered in school or by your GP practice. It may be given at the same time as the teenage booster vaccination.

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4. What will it protect me against?
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It will protect you against the A, C, W and Y strains of meningitis. There are different types of meningitis, but these are among the most common ones.

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5. The most important signs of meningitis to look out for
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  • A stiff neck, pain in the back or joints
  • A very bad headache
  • Lights hurting your eyes
  • Feeling sick or being sick
  • A high temperature and shivering
  • Feeling very sleepy and drowsy
  • Very cold hands and feet
  • Red or purple spots that appear on your body and don’t fade under pressure – You can check using the glass test: Press a drinking glass against the skin. If the spots disappear, it’s unlikely to be meningitis, so seek medical advice by calling 111, going to your Doctor, walk-in centre or accident and emergency. IF THE RED SPOTS DO NOT DISAPPEAR, CALL 999 IMMEDIATELY.

how to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

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