Vaccine alert

SIR - I am writing on behalf of the Meningitis Trust to let people know about a new meningitis vaccine that is available for adults.

This vaccine, which is available at your doctor’s, can help protect against the devastating pneumococcal meningitis strain which kills 15% of people affected and leaves a further 25% with severe and life-changing after-effects.

There is a common misconception that meningitis is a disease that only affects babies and young children. Although about half of all cases of meningitis occur in the under five age group, adults over 50 are considered an ‘at risk’ group, along with teenagers and young adults.

The introduction of this new adult vaccine comes just in time for the ‘peak season’ for meningitis, which runs during the winter months. We would urge adults who are over 50 to talk to their doctor about getting the vaccine. Although this vaccine can help protect against pneumococcal meningitis, there are many strains of the disease which have no vaccine, so knowing the symptoms, trusting your instincts and acting quickly, if concerned, is essential.

As anyone, of any age, at any time, can be a victim of meningitis, everyone should look out for each other this winter. For lifesaving symptoms information, log on to , call our helpline on 0800 028 18 28 for a free credit card-sized symptoms card or download one of free Smart phone apps from

Harriet Penning

Communications Manager

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Meningitis Trust