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Weekly Edition - Published  28 October 2016

 

Local News Report - Mobile Page

 

How many young people must die or suffer by ignoring a free meningitis vaccine?

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WITH a number of meningitis deaths already being reported at UK universities since the start of the academic year, charity Meningitis Now is asking why are so many young people are choosing to ignore a free vaccine that could save their life?

As it launched its annual Student Awareness Week, on 24 October 2016, the charity has been asking students to learn from the fact that, up until the end of August 2016, only 17.4% of 17 and 18 year olds in England had received the vaccination and that nearly ˝ a million 1st year students remain at risk.

Cases of deadly Men W have been increasing year on year, from 22 in 2009 to nearly 200 cases in the past 12 months. A Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) vaccination was introduced in 2015 to combat this rise, but sadly numbers continue to grow.

Despite the increasing risk and the recent deaths of a number of students across the UK, the uptake of MenACWY remains very low, with just 17.4% in England, whilst in Wales the average uptake is a concerning 30.9%. By contrast, Scotland’s programme through schools has been highly successful.

Liz Brown, Chief Executive at Meningitis Now said:- “With a number of students having already contracted and died from meningitis this semester, my simple message to young people and parents, where they still have influence, is that it is not too late to take action that could be lifesaving; get the MenACWY now and protect yourself by getting to know the signs and symptoms of the disease”.

The awareness week is backed by businesses, universities, parents and young people with direct experience of the disease across the UK.

Charlotte Hannibal had just returned to university in Nottingham when she contracted Men W. She thought she had the flu when she began to experience symptoms including feeling cold, a sore throat and a bloating feeling in her stomach.

Charlotte spent 17 days in an induced coma and woke unable to remember what had happened to her. She said:- “I was left with severe memory loss; I couldn’t remember being ill at all. My hearing was also damaged. I had both legs amputated below the knee and lost all my fingers on my left hand and have recently undergone a kidney transplant. I’m now just very grateful to be alive and well.”

Charlotte is one of many volunteers speaking out about the risk of meningitis to students as part of Student Awareness Week. The campaign aims to make sure students know the signs and symptoms of the disease and get the free, lifesaving MenACWY vaccine. To support the campaign follow Meningitis Now on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtag #ACWYnot. Or to find out more visit:- FightForNow.Org.

 

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