The MenACWY vaccine helps to protect you against four strains of meningococcal bacteria, including the aggressive Men W.
Meningococcal bacteria is the leading cause of meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning) in the UK. These diseases can cause permanent disability or death.
1 in 10 people carry the bacteria without experiencing any illness. This increases to 1 in 4 older teenagers, as this age group are the ones most likely to carry the bacteria. They can spread the infection to others through close contact including coughing, sneezing and kissing.
Young people are offered the MenACWY vaccine at around 14-15 years old, as part of the NHS routine immunisation schedule.
Young people are entitled to receive the vaccination anytime up to their 25th birthday.
Students under 25 of any nationality starting university for the first time who haven't had the vaccine are also eligible.
If you think you are eligible but have not yet received the vaccine, please contact your GP surgery or school nurse as soon as possible to discuss how to get protected.
The vaccine does not offer protection against all strains of the bacteria so it is still important to know the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia. There's no better time than right now to protect yourself and those around you by making sure you are up to date with all your vaccinations.
There are a number of vaccines offered free on the NHS to everybody living in the UK. You can see the complete Vaccination Schedule on the NHS Direct Wales website.
Statutory Notifications of Infectious Diseases (NOIDS) for England and Wales includes data on meningitis and meningococcal disease.