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Meningitis ACWY vaccine

What is the meningitis ACWY vaccine?


Meningococcal disease (meningitis and septicaemia) is a rare but life-threatening disease caused by meningococcal bacteria.

The meningitis ACWY or ‘MenACWY’ vaccine protects against 4 strains of the meningococcal bacteria – A, C, W and Y – which cause meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia).

Who is the vaccine for?

The MenACWY vaccine is currently recommended for teenagers as they are most likely to carry the meningococcal bacteria at the back of their noses and throats.

The MenACWY vaccine protects teenagers when they’re most at risk of meningococcal disease. It also stops them carrying and spreading the bacteria to other people.

Why should I have this vaccine?

Vaccinating teenagers helps to protect other people, including babies and older people, against meningococcal disease, including the extremely harmful W strain of meningitis.

Septicaemia and meningitis can trigger sepsis, which is a life-threatening response to infection.

Either of these can lead to life-changing disabilities, such as amputations, hearing loss and brain damage.

When would I have the vaccine?

Young people aged 13 to 15 (usually in school year 9) are routinely offered the MenACWY vaccine in school.

The vaccine is given by a single injection into the upper arm.

Will I have any side effects?

As with all vaccines, some people may have minor side effects, such as swelling, redness or tenderness where the injection is given.

Sometimes a small painless lump develops, but it usually disappears in a few weeks.

More information

For more information, please email the Sheffield 0-19 Immunisation Team on: scn-tr.sheffielddutysn.vacandimm@nhs.net

Or visit www.NHS.uk

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: HVS12

Resource Type: Article

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