Local MP Andrew Gwynne has backed calls by leading UK meningitis charity, Meningitis Now, which encourages young people to protect themselves from a deadly strain of bacterial meningitis.
Following a worrying increase of 809% in meningococcal (group W) meningitis cases in the past 5 years, the government launched a vaccination programme to protect young people aged 14-15 through schools, and those aged 17 to 18 through their GP.
Despite the introduction of this vaccine, and the increased risk to students and young people, the uptake of the Men ACWY remains very low, with just 11% of 17 and 18 year olds within just Greater Manchester taking up the vaccine, and 17.4% across England.
Young people and particularly first year university students are at an increased risk from meningococcal bacteria which can cause meningitis and septicaemia. Early signs can go undetected, and in young people can be put down to a bout of the flu, or even a hangover.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“I fully support this campaign; it is absolutely essential that we spread the word about the availability of the vaccination programme to protect young people.
“We’ve seen rapid progress over the past 20 years in developing vaccines to give protection against some types of meningitis, but there is still a lot of work ahead.”