Young Londoners now able to get meningitis vaccine in pharmacies
This scheme is available in all of the NEL boroughs we represent including Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Tower Hamlets & Waltham Forest
Find your nearest participating pharmacy: https://www.londonflu.co.uk/
- Over 1,300 London pharmacies now offering MenACWY vaccine to young
- Eligible 18–25-year-olds can go online and find their nearest participating
- The MenACWY vaccine protects against four strains of meningococcal disease known as Men A, C, W and Y, which can cause meningitis and
For the first time, the MenACWY vaccine is being made available in pharmacies for young Londoners as part of an NHS and Public Health England drive to increase uptake of the vaccine.
The vaccine protects against four strains of meningococcal disease known as Men A, C, W and Y which can cause meningitis and septicaemia.
Until now the vaccine was only available at GP surgeries in London. With pharmacies now providing the vaccine with the number of locations young people can go to get vaccinated has significantly increased.
As well as going to their GP, eligible Londoners can now go online, type in their postcode to find their nearest participating pharmacy and book an appointment for the free MenACWY vaccine. In London, there are already over 1,300 pharmacies offering the vaccine.
Young people aged 18–25 are particularly at risk from meningococcal disease as they often come into contact with many new people in confined environments such as pubs and clubs, festivals and university halls. Students starting university for the first time are particularly at risk if unvaccinated.
MenW is one of the most aggressive and life-threatening forms of meningococcal disease and can be fatal. Many survivors are left with life-changing disabilities, including brain damage and loss of limbs.
All those aged 18 to 25 are eligible for the free MenACWY vaccine and those who might have missed vaccination in previous years remain eligible up to their 25th birthday, whether attending university or not.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, London director for Public Health England, said:
“It is great that young people in London can now get the MenACWY vaccine in a pharmacy.
“We want to make is as simple and easy as possible for young people to get this important vaccine. With pharmacies across London now giving the vaccine as well as GPs, we hope more young people will get vaccinated and protect themselves.
“The MenACWY vaccine saves lives and can prevent lifelong and devastating disability from meningitis. We have seen a rapid increase in Men W cases across England in recent years and vaccination is the most effective way of protecting against infection.
“Young people are particularly at risk from the MenW strain. Being in confined environments with close contact, such as university halls, pubs and clubs increase the chances of infection if unprotected.
“If you are eligible and have not yet had the MenACWY vaccine, either call your GP or go online and book an appointment today.”
Jane Cummings, Regional Director for NHS England (London) said: “We know that the student lifestyle, with young people living together in close proximity, can increase the risk of meningitis being contracted. Yet, worryingly, we also know that too many students are going to university without being protected against this potentially dangerous disease.”
“This year for the first time, young people in the capital will be able to protect themselves against meningitis by going to their local pharmacy and asking for the free vaccine. We’d encourage students to take advantage of this service as soon as possible so that they can begin their studies with nothing more serious than a bout of fresher’s flu.”
While the MenACWY vaccine is highly effective in protecting against four deadly strains, it does not protect against all strains that can cause meningitis and septicaemia. It is, therefore, important to be vigilant in spotting early symptoms of infection and to seek prompt medical assistance if concerned. Symptoms of infection may include:
- Fever, cold hands and feet
- Severe headache, joint or muscle pains
- Stiff neck
- Dislike of bright lights
- Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
- Pale, blotchy skin with or without a rash
- Irritability and/or confusion
- Drowsiness, difficult to wake up
Not everyone will develop these symptoms and they can appear in any order.