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Meningococcal group W (Men W) has historically been rare in the UK but since 2009 year on year cases of Men W have increased and continue to do so. A particularly aggressive strain of Men W is causing disease in all age groups but there has been a significant increase in university students.

As a result of this increase in cases the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that a Men ACWY vaccine should be offered to 14 -18 year-olds to prevent the transmission of this strain.

Teenagers are more likely to carry meningococcal bacteria in the back of their throats. Giving a vaccine to 14 – 18 year olds and new university students will directly protect this age group and also reduce the chance of the bacteria spreading to others.

17 – 18 year olds (school year 13) and older university entrants (aged 19 – 25) will be offered one dose of the vaccine in primary care (GP). The same age groups will also be offered the vaccine in 2016 and 2017.

Swindon College advises all 16-18 year old students to go to their GP and request this vaccination.