BARNSLEY school leavers are being urged to take up a new vaccine which offers protection against meningitis and septicaemia following a national rise in cases.

The MenACWY vaccine will be offered from August 2015, starting with teenagers of school year 13 (date of birth 01/09/1996 – 31/08/1997).

Those eligible will be contacted by their GP and are urged to take up the vaccine before leaving home for university. Although, it is available to all young people and not limited to those continuing in further education.

Coun Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said: “This age group are at higher risk of getting meningococcal disease, as many will be starting university this year and mixing closely with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria.

“Meningitis can be deadly and survivors are often left with severe disabilities as a result of this terrible disease. This vaccine will help to save lives and prevent against permanent disability.”