New students to protect themselves against meningitis

Release Date: 30 August 2017

Young people starting university or college this autumn are being reminded to get a free vaccine which protects against meningitis and septicaemia.

Over the next few weeks, thousands of young people in the borough will be leaving home to go to universities across the country.

In anticipation, Richmond Council’s Public Health team are encouraging the young adults to visit their GP and request a vaccine that could save their lives.

The Men ACWY vaccine will help protects against four strains of meningococcal disease known as Men A, C, W and Y, which can cause meningitis and septicaemia.
Meningococcal W infection (MenW) in particular is one of the most aggressive and life-threatening forms of meningococcal disease and can be fatal.

New students are particularly at risk as they often mix closely with many new people in confined environments - some who may unknowingly carry the bug.

Houda Al-Sharifi, Director of Public Health for Richmond Council, said:

"Since 2009, there has been a rapid increase in cases of MenW across England, with students particularly at risk. Protecting young people from this potentially deadly disease as they embark upon one of the most important periods of their lives is vitally important. If you're planning to go to university or college, you should be vaccinated before the start of the academic term or before leaving home for university or college. Please make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible."

Cllr Mark Boyle, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, added:

"It is critical that young people are not complacent about meningitis or septicaemia and they take the necessary steps to protect themselves, stay vigilant and seek urgent medical help if they suspect anything. I urge all who are eligible to make sure they get the free MenACWY vaccine before they head off to University."

For more information about the vaccine, go to the NHS website

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P400/17

Updated: 31 August 2017