One Life. One shot

We're helping to protect students and young people from deadly meningitis
Start Date
16 Aug 2018
  • Young people across the UK are being offered free MenACWY vaccine to combat a rapid rise in a deadly strain of MenW (meningococcal W) meningitis and septicaemia.
  • People under the age of 25 going to uni for the first time are also being offered the vaccine.
  • Since August 2015 all 14 to 18 years olds in the UK are being offered MenACWY vaccine.  This is part of a one off catch-up vaccination campaign due to a rapid rise in a harmful strain of meningococcal group W (MenW) disease. 
  • The catch up vaccination campaign was completed within one year in Scotland and Northern Ireland and is being completed within two years in England and Wales. There is no MenACWY vaccination programme in the Republic of Ireland.

Can you get the FREE MenACWY vaccine?

The MenACWY vaccine is usually offered to teenagers in school year 9 (England and Wales), year 11 (NI) and S3 (Scotland). 

If you are over 14 and have not had this vaccine at school or from your GP you can still get it if:

  • You are starting university for the first time and aged under 25
  • You were born after 1st September 1996 (England and Wales) or born after 2 July 1996 (Northern Ireland)
  • You are in Scottish School year S3 to S6

Use our vaccine checker now to find out if you're eligible

Meningococcal W meningitis and septicaemia: a new, virulent strain in the UK, particularly affecting young adults

Why you need to have the MenACWY vaccine

Lauren Sandell died in her first few weeks at uni from a deadly new type of meningitis that's spreading among students.

  • MenW has risen rapidly. Cases had been nearly doubling each year, so MenACWY vaccine was introduced in 2015.
  • MenW is a particularly virulent strain. It causes severe disease in healthy young people and is harder to spot and more likely to kill than other strains.
  • Vaccination with MenACWY also protects you against other strains. You'll also be protected against MenA, MenC and MenY meningitis and septicaemia. 
  • Getting vaccinated will help stop the spread of MenW. This means that other people are less likely to get MenW, including your friends and family. 
  • You are at greater risk of getting MenW. Teenagers and young adults have a higher risk than other age groups.  
  • Young people going on to university are particularly at risk because they mix with so many other students, some of whom are unknowingly carrying the meningitis bacteria. Students should arrange to get the MenACWY vaccine from their GP at least two weeks before they go away to study. 
  • If you live in London, you may be able to get the MenACWY vaccine free at your local pharmacy. Pharmacies offering the vaccine are listed on the following website which also details other available vaccines, such as the flu vaccine:
Vaccination with MenACWY vaccine will protect you and stop the spread of this virulent strain.

Campaign resources

For: Young people 15 - 25 Teenagers and young adults are the next most at risk age group after the under 5s. This poster encourages UK students to get their free MenACWY vaccination
For: Young people 15 - 25 in the UK Teenagers and young adults are the next most at risk age group after the under 5s. This doubled-sided flyer encourages UK students to get their free MenACWY vaccination
Order printed resources

Order printed resources

These and other meningitis awareness resources are free for you to order in the UK
The UK teenage MenACWY vaccination
The UK teenage MenACWY vaccination
Protection against the rise of MenW
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Rob Dawson
Rob Dawson - Director of Communications, Advocacy and Support

If you'd like to know more about this aspect of MRF's work, do get in touch

Tel: 0333 405 6252

Ways you can help

Please do what you can today and help save and change the lives of thousands