Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions from people who are potentially interested in participating in the study:

Q. How do I know if I have previously had a Meningococcal group B (Men B) vaccine?
A. This is not a routine vaccine for adolescents (only for babies) so your parents will have had to organise and pay for a Men B vaccine privately, it’s likely they would know if you have had it. Also the private provider may have informed your GP that it was given so there could be a record of it at your GP surgery, or if it has been given for medical reasons (e.g. if you have a problem with your immune system or spleen.


Q. What is the Men ACWY vaccine?
A. This is another type of vaccine which protects against 4 different strains of Meningococcal bacteria, these being A, C, W and Y. This is routinely given to teenagers aged 13/14 when in year 9.


Q. Have I had the Men ACWY vaccine?
A. As it is now part of the routine schedule and has been since 2015 it is likely that you will have had this vaccine. If you have had it there will be a record with your GP and/or your school nurse.


Q. Why do I have to wait 15 minutes after my vaccine?
A. We observe you for 15 minutes after your vaccination because if you were going to have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the vaccine, it’s most likely to happen in that time frame. We have the appropriate medical equipment to deal with such a reaction if that was to happen, but it is very unlikely.


Q. What are the side effects of the vaccine?
A. The most common side effects are a sore arm, and sometimes swelling and redness at the injection site. Others may suffer from general flu like symptoms, headaches, fatigue, muscle/joint pain, nausea and diarrhoea. Some people have no symptoms at all after vaccination.
As with all vaccines, there is a risk of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) but it’s extremely rare for this to occur.


Q. Can I get meningitis from the vaccine?
A. No, you can’t get meningitis from the vaccine.


Questionnaire/contact sheet
Q. What does non-binary mean?
A. Non-binary, or Genderqueer, is an umbrella term for people who do not identify as exclusively ‘male’ or ‘female’. A non-binary person can identify as having a gender which is in-between or beyond the two categories ‘man’ and ‘woman, as fluctuating between ‘man’ and woman’, or as having no gender, either permanently or some of the time.


Q. Why do you need to know how many people I have kissed?
A. Kissing with tongues is one of the ways that the meningitis bacteria may be passed from person to person. This information helps us determine baseline carriage rates between the different groups.


Q. Why do you need to contact me?
A. We will need to contact you to let you know when we are returning to your school to do your next study visit. We will do this via a reminder text or email if that’s what you would prefer. We will also contact you if there was a medically significant finding on the throat swab or if you win the prize draw.


Q. Can I take part if my school isn’t involved in the study?
A. Unfortunately not, your school must be involved in the study for you to take part. The reason for this study being delivered through schools is to give us the best chance of detecting any impact the MenB vaccines might have on carriage of meningococcus in the throat of teenagers. We are much more likely to see this impact if a high proportion of teenagers who are interacting each other regularly (e.g. in a school environment) have received the relevant vaccines. Conversely, if we were to only immunise individual teenagers, whose peers have not received the vaccine, it will be much harder to detect any effect.You could speak to your school to see if it’s something they would be interested in taking part in and then they could contact us.


Throat swab
Q. What if I do have the meningitis bacteria in my throat? Will I be told this information?
A. No, we won’t inform you that you are a carrier because if you are then it’s highly unlikely that you will ever develop the disease, as you would have developed it by now. However, it is likely that you will pass this bacteria to others. Meningitis remains a rare disease. If we find an unusual bacteria we may need to contact you to repeat the swab.


Q. Can I eat before the throat swab?
A. Yes, you can eat and drink as normal before and after.