The Meningitis ACWY vaccine and the Diptheria, Tetanus, Polio (teenage booster) vaccine are delivered together. Your child will be offered both vaccines on the same day, given as one vaccine in each arm.
What is the Meningitis ACWY vaccine?
The Meningitis ACWY (also known as Men ACWY) vaccine is given by a single injection into the upper arm and protects against four different strains of the meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia): A, C, W and Y. Meningitis W disease, like all meningococcal infections, can come on suddenly and progress very quickly. The Meningitis W strain is particularly prevalent in teenagers and university students, so the vaccine is offered in Year 9 to ensure young people are protected.
All meningococcal infections can cause meningitis and septicaemia, but Men W can also cause other illnesses, such as pneumonia and joint infections (septic arthritis). Early symptoms of meningococcal disease can include:
Who can have the vaccine?
The Meningitis ACWY vaccine is currently offered to Year 9 students in school, alongside the 3-in-1 teenage booster vaccine. Information about consent forms will be sent out from school and parents are encouraged to discuss the vaccination with their child. It should be noted that due to the age of Year 9 students (13/14), they can self-consent to these vaccinations on the day if they wish.
When is the vaccine given?
The Meningitis ACWY program is currently delivered between February and April. From September 2019, consent forms for all vaccination programmes will be completed using an online system. The information about this system will go out to schools and then be passed onto parents. We aim to provide vaccination dates when the consent forms go out however this is not always possible if schools wish to change their date. All current dates can be found on the Immunisation Dates page.
What happens if my child misses the vaccine?
Should your child miss the vaccine on the day, either due to absence or refusal i.e. needle phobia or anxiety, we can invite them to a catch-up clinic. Providing there is a consent form for your child and a contact number, we will contact you to arrange a catch-up appointment. We aim to run catch-up clinics in all areas in the school holidays. If your child missed their Meningitis ACWY vaccine in Year 9, but they are still in school (Year 10 or 11), please contact us to book a clinic appointment.
For more information visit the NHS website