TEENAGERS and university students are to be vaccinated against a rare strain of meningitis after a rise in the number of cases.
The new vaccine will be introduced for 14 to 18-year-olds in Scotland to protect them from meningitis W (MenW).
It will also be offered to students under the age of 25 attending university for the first time this autumn.
Men W infections are particularly severe and have a higher death rate than the more common Men C and Men B strains, according to the NHS.
From this week, older teenagers will start receiving an invitation letter and information leaflet, asking those who have left school to get the vaccine at their GP practice as soon as possible.
Young people returning to school in August will receive their vaccine in school during the coming academic year.
Those planning to go to university are urged to make an appointment at least two weeks before they go or, failing that, during freshers’ week.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “The launch of the MenW vaccine prevention programme for teenagers is great news.
“This vaccine also protects against MenA, MenC and MenY, making sure young people are protected at such an important time in their academic lives.
“I would urge everyone who is eligible for the vaccine to make an appointment with their GP, or if they’re still at school to take up the offer of the catch-up programme there.
“They might be busy preparing to leave for university, working or enjoying their summer break, but a short appointment really could make an enormous difference to their future health.”