First year students - have you had your Meningitis vaccine yet?

Protect yourself against deadly Meningitis by getting a simple vaccination. The Men ACWY vaccine protects against four causes of Meningitis and life-threatening septicaemia (also known as blood poisoning).

With early detection and treatment people can make a full recovery from meningitis, but symptoms of the disease are often mistaken for minor illnesses. One in ten cases of meningitis is fatal and can lead to long-term health problems, such as amputation, deafness and epilepsy.

The highest risk of meningitis is in the first year of university and a small number of students from across the country have already died from the disease this semester. 

Charlotte HannibalCharlotte Hannibal, a volunteer for Meningitis Now, contracted Men W while studying at university in Nottingham. Speaking about her experience, Charlotte said:

“I was left with severe memory loss – I couldn’t remember being ill at all. My hearing was also damaged. I had both legs amputated below the knee and lost all my fingers on my left hand and have recently undergone a kidney transplant. I’m now just very grateful to be alive and well.”

Cases of Men W are particularly on the rise, so it is more important than ever to get the Men ACWY vaccination. You may have already had the Meningitis C vaccine as part of your child immunisations, but this will not protect against other causes of the disease.

If you are a first year student and under 25, please contact a GP as soon as possible to have the Men ACWY vaccine. If you have not registered for a GP you can find your closest practice using NHS Choice’s GP finder.

Meningitis symptoms

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms of meningitis develop suddenly and can include:

  • a high temperature (fever) over 37.5oc
  • being sick
  • a headache
  • a blotchy rash that does not fade when a glass is rolled over it (this will not always develop)
  • a stiff neck
  • a dislike of bright lights
  • drowsiness or unresponsiveness
  • seizures (fits).

For more information about the Men ACWY vaccine and Meningitis please go to NHS Choices or the Meningitis Now website.