Outbreaks of meningitis come and go, attracting significant media attention when they happen. After these sudden surges in attention, talk of meningitis goes down, as does the awareness of needing to be vaccinated. Meningitis Now, a charity that raises awareness for the disease and the importance of the ACWY vaccinations, said that it was ‘deeply concerned’ about the low vaccine uptake amongst young people, urging parents and teenagers to get vaccinated for what can be a preventable fatal illness.


Parents of victims warn about the risk

Emily Styles was 19 when she died in 2014 from meningitis. At the time, the ACWY vaccine wasn’t available, and it was released just a year later to protect against the A, C, W and Y meningitis stay. Her mother, Julia, has now spoken out about the need for parents to make sure that their teenagers are vaccinated, as these are the second most at risk groups for contracting it. Her story isn’t the only one and it’s important that parents take note.

In previous decades, campaigns for meningitis awareness have centred on the appearance of a rash that doesn’t disappear under pressure, however, in Emily’s case, and many others – no rash has been present, making it important to keep an eye out for other symptoms, which include:

  • Fever
  • Sickness, loss of appetite
  • Feeling drowsy
  • Pale skin with blotches
  • Stiff neck
  • Accelerated breathing


These symptoms are quite similar to those of colds, flu and even a hangover, but if you suspect meningitis at any point, it’s important that you seek medical advice immediately. Teenagers are particularly at risk because around 25% of them carry the bacteria, which can be spread easily when living in university halls. It’s advised that they get vaccinated in the summer after they’ve left school.


Getting vaccinated in Richmond to prevent meningitis in teenagers

In order to get your teenager the ACWY vaccine, you’ll need to book an appointment with your local GP, as these aren’t done collectively at school or college. As a result, it’ll be up to you to make sure that you book the appointment – you won’t receive a letter to tell you that it’s due. Add it to your to do list as your child prepares to go off to university and make an appointment at your local surgery, which include the following GP practices in Richmond:

For more information about meningitis, its symptoms and information about the different types of vaccinations available, NHS Choices has a comprehensive guide. You can also find out how you can help raise awareness with Meningitis Now. This organisation helps parents and teenagers who may not be aware of the dangers of meningitis and about the vaccines available.