Eligible young people are encouraged to have the MenACWY vaccine, which protects against deadly meningitis and septicaemia.
Those who are due to leave school this summer, or aged 17 to 18 and are not in school (born between 1 September 1998 and 31 August 1999), are now eligible.
New entrants to higher education (university freshers) are also eligible. Anyone who is eligible and has missed vaccination in previous years remains eligible up to their 25th birthday and is urged to have the MenACWY vaccine.
The MenACWY jab protects against 4 strains of meningococcal disease which cause meningitis and septicaemia, known as strains A, C, W and Y.
MenW is one of the most aggressive and life threatening forms and meningococcal disease and can be fatal. Many survivors are left with life changing disabilities, including brain damage and loss of limbs.
The MenACWY vaccine remains the best form of protection against the A, C, W, and Y strains with a 100% effectiveness rate in those that have been vaccinated so far.
Public Health England would also like parents to encourage their children to be vaccinated.
Getting vaccinated is simple, just speak to your GP or practice nurse.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE said:
“The MenACWY vaccination programme will save lives and prevent lifelong and devastating disability. We have seen a rapid increase in MenW cases across England in recent years and vaccination is the most effective way of protecting against infection.
“Young people are particularly at risk as they are carriers of the disease. Being in confined environments with close contact, such as university halls, hostels when travelling, or attending festivals, increase the chances of infection if unprotected.
“Get vaccinated as soon as possible, remain vigilant and seek urgent medical help if you have concerns for yourself or friends.”