18–24 yr old Londoners: Free meningitis vaccine in pharmacies

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
  • Convulsions/seizures

Not every­one will devel­op these symp­toms and they can appear in any order.

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