GPs asked to delay freshers' MenC vaccination programme after MenW outbreak

An outbreak of meningococcal group W disease (MenW) has caused Public Health England to delay the planned MenC immunisation programme for new university starters.

A MenW outbreak has prompted Public Health England's recommendation to delay the freshers’ MenC vaccination programme. | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A MenW outbreak has prompted Public Health England's recommendation to delay the freshers’ MenC vaccination programme. | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The MenC freshers’ vaccination programme was due to begin in April. Recently, however, there has been a rapid increase in meningococcal group W (MenW) disease in England. To tackle this, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is recommending emergency vaccination of all 14- to 18-year olds (those in school years 10–13) with the MenACWY vaccine (Menveo or Nimenrix), which provides protection against four strains of meningitis including MenC and MenW135. The emergency programme is intended to provide direct and herd protection against MenW to the whole population.

Public Health England is currently attempting to source sufficient quantities of MenACWY vaccine to vaccinate students in year 13 and is asking GPs to delay the planned MenC freshers programme until the MenACWY vaccine becomes available, so that this group does not have to be revaccinated to ensure protection against MenW. 

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