The Meningococcal ACWY vaccine protects against meningococcal bacteria types A, C, W and Y. Since 2002, children have been getting vaccinated against meningococcal type C at 14 months. At the time, the National Immunisation Programme was expanded with this vaccination because many children became seriously ill after a meningococcal infection in a short time. As of 1 May 2018, toddlers receive a vaccination that protects against meningococcal types A, C, W and Y. The bacterium is especially dangerous for very young children. Children can become seriously ill in a few days due to meningitis or septicaemia.
Children aged 14 months receive an invitation from the child health centre for this vaccination. The vaccination is given simultaneously with the BMR vaccination (mumps, measles, rubella). This means that the child will get two vaccinations, both in the upper arm.
In recent years, the number of cases of Meningococcal W disease has been increasing in the Netherlands. That is why, as of 1 May 2018, the Meningococcal C vaccination has been replaced by one that protects against meningococcal types A, C, W and Y. Because meningococcal type W is also hazardous for older children, the vaccination will also be offered to teenagers in the year they turn 14, as of 1 October 2018. In 2018, these refers to all teenagers that have turned or will turn 14 between 1 May and 31 December.