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Meningitis vaccines for travel

Meningitis is a serious illness that causes flu-like symptoms and can, in many cases, result in death. It is a rapidly deteriorating disease that should be protected against through vaccination if you plan to travel to an area where outbreaks have occurred – particularly along The Meningitis Belt, which is a region in sub-Saharan Africa.

What is the meningitis vaccination?

The meningitis vaccination protects you from the meningitis virus. There are several strains of this virus such as mumps virus, herpes simplex virus and enteroviruses to name a few. However, there are several vaccines available in order to treat these strains.

How long does the meningitis vaccine last?

The meningitis vaccination lasts for approximately five years. It takes two weeks to become fully effective in the body and to keep your body protected you will need to get a booster shot of the vaccine every 3 to 5 years.

How many meningitis vaccines are there?

There are a few different meningitis viruses, and therefore, a few vaccinations to choose from. Two of the vaccine options will protect against four different variations of the disease, and a third vaccination option will protect you from serotype B.

What countries will you need a meningitis vaccine for?

The most common countries that are inflicted with meningitis are those along The Meningitis Belt which includes:

  • Gambia
  • Senegal
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Mali
  • Ghana

However, all countries from one side of the African continent to the other within this belt are at-risk areas. If you are travelling here, you will want to get comprehensive coverage via vaccinations and travel insurance.

Can you get a meningitis vaccine for travel through the NHS?

Children are covered for this vaccine through the NHS as it is part of the 6-in-1 vaccine. This includes the Pneumococcal vaccine, HiB/Men C vaccine, MMR vaccine, Meningitis ACWY vaccine, and the Meningitis B vaccine. If you plan to get a booster shot of your meningitis vaccinations, you will likely need to pay for it, as it is not covered for everyone.

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