Meningococcal disease strains A, C, W, Y vaccination (MenACWY)

We currently offer Men ACWY to young people in Year 9. This vaccination protects your child against four different strains of the meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and septicaemia.

The Men ACWY vaccine is given by a single injection into your child’s upper arm and protects them against nearly all serious meningococcal infections.

The bacteria are spread by close prolonged contact with a person carrying the bacteria, such as coughing, kissing and sneezing. Very occasionally; the meningococcal bacteria can cause serious illness, including meningitis and septicaemia. Meningococcal infections can strike at any age, but babies, young children and teenagers are especially vulnerable.

How does my child get this vaccination?

Children aged 13 to 14 (school year 9) are offered the Men ACWY vaccine in school as part of the routine adolescent schools programme alongside the Td/IPV teenage booster, and as a direct replacement for the Men C vaccination.

When your son or daughter reaches eligible age you will be sent an email with a link to complete and online consent form. Please complete this consent form as soon as you can so that we can give your child their vaccination at the arranged school session.

If your child is not educated in a school setting, please contact Somerset SAINT on 0300 323 0032, to book into one of our community sessions. If you have not received a consent form then please contact Somerset SAINT to request one.

On the day

We ask that on the day of vaccination your child wears short sleeves that allow easy access to their upper arms, or wears a vest or t-shirt under their school shirt. Privacy in schools is often limited and it can be embarrassing for young people to have to remove clothing to be vaccinated.  We also need them to eat breakfast and be well hydrated before they are vaccinated.

Men ACWY is a very safe vaccine but, as with all vaccines, some children may have minor side effects. The most common side effects seen in teenagers and young people are redness, hardening and itching at the injection site, fever, headache, nausea and fatigue. These symptoms should last no more than 24 hours. Sometimes a small, painless lump develops, but this usually disappears in a few weeks.

Once your child has been vaccinated, we send that information to Child Health in Somerset. The information is then passed to your child’s GP.

Can we help?

If you have any concerns about this vaccination, for example if you are worried because your child is needle phobic, has additional needs,  or you want to ask any questions please do contact us on 0300 323 0032 and we can arrange for you to speak to one of our immunisation nurses.

For further information:

View Your guide to immunisation leaflet