Free jab to protect teens from meningitis

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DOCTORS will be contacting 17 and 18-year-olds to offer them a free meningitis jab as cases have been rising each year.

Public Health England said there has been an increase of a highly aggressive strain of meningococcal disease – group W – rising from 22 cases in 2009, to 117 in 2014.

The new jab will also offer protection against strands A, C and Y, which is why it’s called the MenACWY vaccination.

University students are typically prone to it as they are at increased risk, due to mixing with lots of new people, some who may unknowingly carry it.

Dr Janet Maxwell, director of public health for Portsmouth, said she urges all to make sure they take up the offer from their GP.

She said: ‘It’s vital young people know how important the meningitis vaccine is; it can save their lives from a truly punishing disease.

‘I would urge all 17 and 18 year-olds in Portsmouth, especially those going to university, to get vaccinated when they are contacted by their GP.’