Meningitis vaccine uptake in UK 'worryingly low'

In England, the MenACWY vaccine (covering four strains of meningococcal disease which cause meningitis and septicaemia: strains A, C, W and Y) is offered for free to all 17 and 18 year olds, and anyone aged 25 is eligible to receive the vaccine.

However, the UK’s Royal College of Nursing has reported that only one-third of young people took up the offer in 2016.

Charlotte Hannibal, now 21, contracted Meningitis W whilst at university. After losing her legs and all of the fingers on her left hand due to the disease, she is now an ambassador, and speaks about her experiences in video recorded by the BBC.

The Vaccine

  • The MenACWY jab protects against four strains of meningococcal disease which cause meningitis and septicaemia – strains A, C, W and Y.

    MenW, the type Charlotte had, is one of the most aggressive and life-threatening forms and can be fatal.


    As well as affecting the membranes around the brain, the infection can cause life-threatening blood poisoning.


    Officials say there has been a rapid increase in MenW cases across England, from 22 cases in 2009-10 to 210 in 2015-16.


    Young people who have not yet had the MenACWY vaccine remain eligible up to their 25th birthday and should contact their GP surgery to get immunised.


    Year 9 pupils (aged 13 to 14) are also routinely offered the jab in school.

Click here to view the video and read more about Charlotte’s experience.