Meningococcal group W (MenW) immunisation advised for 14 to 18 year-olds

The JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) today advised that immunisation for meningococcal group W (MenW) disease be offered to 14 to 18 year-olds.

This advice follows a report from Public Health England (PHE) that showed a continuing rise in cases of MenW since 2009. Whilst the number of MenW cases and overall risk remains very low, there has been an increase in prevalence with 117 cases last year.

Andrew Pollard, Chair of the JCVI, said: “We have seen an increase in MenW cases this winter caused by a highly aggressive strain of the bug. We reviewed the outbreak in detail at JCVI and concluded that this increase was likely to continue in future years unless action is taken. We have therefore advised the Department of Health to implement a vaccination programme for teenagers as soon as possible, which we believe will have a substantial impact on the disease and protect the public’s health.”

The Department of Health has accepted JCVI’s advice and is now planning the implementation of a combined MenACWY immunisation programme.

See the full Public Heath England press release with links to further information.

More information about meningococcal disease.

More information about the MenACWY vaccine.