Meningitis is a serious infection that can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. There are several different types of meningitis, and one of the most dangerous is meningitis caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus. This particular strain of bacteria can cause a rapidly progressive and potentially life-threatening infection, which is why vaccination against meningitis is so important.
In the UK, a specific type of meningococcal vaccine called MenACWY is recommended for young people, particularly those who are starting university or college. This is because young people are at higher risk of meningococcal infection, especially if they live in close quarters like dormitories or shared housing.
The MenACWY vaccine protects against four different strains of meningococcus: A, C, W, and Y. These are the most common strains of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease in the UK, and the vaccine has been shown to be highly effective in preventing infection.
The MenACWY vaccine is given as a single injection, usually into the upper arm. It is recommended for young people aged 14-25, as well as those with certain medical conditions or who have had their spleen removed. It is also recommended for those traveling to areas where meningitis is common.
It is important to note that the MenACWY vaccine is not the same as the MenB vaccine, which protects against a different strain of meningococcus. Both vaccines are important for protecting against meningococcal disease, and it is recommended that young people receive both vaccines if possible.
Possible side effects of the MenACWY vaccine include pain and redness at the injection site, headache, and muscle aches. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days.
If you are planning a trip to Saudi Arabia for Hajj/Umrah, or for any other reason, you need to provide proof of a meningitis ACWY vaccination to be allowed into the country. Perhaps you’re a student looking for the jab before heading off to university.