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About meningitis ACWY
Meningitis ACWY is a form of bacterial meningitis which can be spread through close contact with an infected person or animal. It is most common among young people aged 15-24, although it can affect anyone of any age. The symptoms are similar to those of flu and may include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, confusion and drowsiness. In some cases, a rash may appear on the skin, known as meningococcal septicaemia.
The meningitis ACWY vaccine helps protect against four strains of bacteria that cause meningitis and septicaemia; Neisseria meningitidis groups A, C, W and Y. The vaccine is given as a single injection containing small amounts of the four strains.
How can you get meningitis ACWY?
The bacteria which cause meningitis are transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets or throat secretions from carriers. Close, prolonged contact promotes spread, such as kissing, sneezing, coughing or living with a carrier.
Transmission of N. meningitidis is facilitated during mass gatherings such as pilgrimages and jamborees. Most infections do not cause clinical disease, and many people carry the bacteria without any symptoms; they may be a reservoir of infection for others. Older teenagers are most likely to carry and spread the meningococcal bacteria.
Number of doses required and when to boost
Number of doses
When to boost
N.B. Children under one year need different dosing.
Not sure what service option you need?
If you are unsure which vaccines you need for your holiday, why not take advantage of our travel health advice service? This service includes a personalised telephone consultation to determine your travel health requirements, including vaccination, altitude sickness, jet lag, period delay, travellers' diarrhoea and antimalarials.
High risk areas for meningitis ACWY
Meningitis ACWY is found in many parts of the world, including:
The Middle East
It is widespread in sub-Saharan African countries and has been responsible for large outbreaks in recent years. It is also becoming more prevalent in other parts of the world, such as India and Pakistan.
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Frequently asked questions
What are the symptoms of Meningitis ACWY?
Symptoms of meningococcal disease (meningitis and septicaemia) can start like a bad case of flu, but they get worse very quickly. Early treatment can be lifesaving.
Other symptoms of meningococcal disease can include:
a stiff neck
muscle and joint pain
a high temperature
cold hands and feet
drowsiness or difficulty waking up
A rash may also appear that can develop into a purple, bruise-like rash that does not fade under pressure – for instance, when gently pressing a glass against it (the "glass test").
If you, or a child or adult you know, has any of these symptoms, get urgent medical help. Do not wait for the rash to develop. Early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics are vital.
At what age should teenagers and young people have the meningitis ACWY vaccine?
Children aged 13 to 15 (school Years 9 or 10) are routinely offered the MenACWY vaccine in school.
Can university students have the meningitis ACWY vaccine?
Any university student born on or after 1 September 1996 who was eligible but missed their teenage MenACWY vaccine can still have it up to their 25th birthday.
Students going to university or college for the first time, including overseas and mature students who have not yet had the MenACWY vaccine, remain eligible, as freshers (first-year students), up to their 25th birthday.
Students should contact their GP to have the MenACWY vaccine before starting university or college. If that's not possible, they should have it as soon as they can after they begin university.
Why should teenagers and students have the MenACWY vaccine?
Older teenagers and new university students are at higher risk of infection because many mix closely with many new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria at the back of their nose and throat.
Anyone eligible for the MenACWY vaccine should have it, even if they have previously had the MenC vaccine.
The MenACWY vaccine is highly effective in preventing illness caused by the four meningococcal strains, including the extremely harmful MenW strain.
What are the dangers of meningococcal disease?
Meningococcal disease can cause both meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning). Septicaemia and meningitis can trigger sepsis, a life-threatening infection response.
Meningococcal disease is rare but very serious. It requires urgent hospital treatment.
It can lead to life-changing disabilities, such as amputations, hearing loss and brain damage.
What are the side effects of the MenACWY vaccine?
The MenACWY vaccine can cause side effects like all vaccines, but they are generally mild and soon pass.
The most common side effects seen in teenagers and young people are:
hardening and itching at the injection site
a high temperature (above 38C)
feeling sick (nausea) and
These symptoms should last no longer than 24 hours.
Sometimes a small, painless lump develops, but this usually disappears after a few weeks.
How do I get a meningitis certificate?
Some countries, for example, Saudi Arabia, demand you provide a meningitis ACWY certificate before entering the country. The vaccine is compulsory for the Hajj pilgrimage. We will provide a certificate after your vaccination appointment at Midway Pharmacy. This certificate is valid for five years and is accepted in all countries as proof of vaccination.
How long before travelling should I have the vaccination?
You must be vaccinated at least ten days before you enter Saudi Arabia. Rules may vary for other countries, so it's always best to plan your travel vaccinations early.
Do I need a booster for the meningitis ACWY vaccine?
The vaccine offers protection against meningococcal strains A, C, W and Y for five years. If it's been five or more years since you were vaccinated, you will need to have the vaccine again.
Are next-day appointments available?
Yes, you can get next-day appointments at all our branches. Contact our customer care team if you cannot find an available slot.
Where is this service available?
This service is available in our branches, which are commutable from anywhere in Yorkshire, including Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, York, Huddersfield, Sheffield, Barnsley, Hull, Doncaster, Ripon, Harrogate, Dewsbury, Keighley and Scarborough.
Next-day appointments are available at our branches.