The new meningitis C vaccine is to be administered to older school children across the UK.
The vaccine, a newly developed conjugate form, will be available to all young people aged 15, 16 and 17 by Christmas. From the end of November the vaccine is also available to babies receiving routine vaccinations at two, three, four and 13 months old.
“Older schoolchildren and babies are at most risk from the disease and we are targeting these vulnerable groups in the first phase of our immunisation programme,” said chief medical officer, professor Liam Donaldson.
He added: “The NHS is the first health care system in the world to use this brand new vaccine and our immunisation programme is being introduced a year earlier than scheduled.”