Newry school leavers urged to get new meningitis vaccine

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Thursday, August 6th, 2015
The Public Health Agency (PHA) is encouraging local school leavers and first-time university students to get the new meningococcal vaccine which is available from 3rd August 2015. student2Through a new immunisation programme, everyone born between 2 July 1996 and 1 July 1997, and first time university students up to the age of 25, will be offered the Men ACWY vaccine. Welcoming the roll-out of the vaccine, Health Minister Simon Hamilton said, “This vaccination helps protect against four different causes of meningitis and septicaemia – meningococcal A, C, W and Y diseases. We are ensuring it is made available in Northern Ireland now, despite the extremely challenging financial position. “GP practices will be inviting people born between 2 July 1996 and 1 July 1997 to have the Men ACWY vaccine. The PHA is also encouraging everyone starting university for the first time, up to the age of 25, to get the vaccine. You can arrange this through your GP and it is really important to have it before you start university, if possible, and if not, to have it in the first week of term. “Even if you have recently had the MenC vaccine, for example in school, you should still get the Men ACWY vaccine. It will increase your protection against Men C and provide protection against the three other meningococcal groups,” he added. MenW was rare in the UK but there has been an increase in cases in recent years. Dr Lucy Jessop, Consultant in Health Protection at the PHA, explained, “Older teenagers are at higher risk of getting MenW disease, so you need to get vaccinated to help protect yourself. It will also reduce the risk of you carrying the bacteria, therefore also protecting those around you.
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