Public Health England is calling for all new students to make sure their vaccinations are up to date for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and MenACWY before coming to university.
Universities can be a hot spot for measles, mumps and meningococcal disease as you are mixing with lots of different people in confined environments.
Measles, mumps and the MMR vaccine
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can sometimes lead to serious complications and can be fatal in very rare cases.
Mumps is a contagious viral infection and although complications are rare, they can include swelling of the ovaries, swelling of the testes, aseptic meningitis and deafness.
The best protection against mumps and measles is to ensure you have had two doses of MMR vaccination. The MMR vaccine is available free to anyone who has not received both doses as a child. If you are unsure whether your vaccinations are up to date you can contact your GP to check. If you haven’t had two MMR doses, arrange a free catch-up vaccination as soon as possible.
Meningococcal disease and MenACWY vaccine
Alongside the MMR vaccine, it is also important to ensure you are up to date with the MenACWY vaccine which protects against meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) – which can both be fatal.
The MenACWY vaccine is given by a single injection into the upper arm and protects against four different kinds of the meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and septicaemia.
Students going to university for the first time, including overseas and mature students, who have not yet had the MenACWY vaccine remain eligible up to their 25th birthday. Young adults are particularly at risk as they are carriers of the disease.
Make sure you contact your GP to have the MenACWY vaccine before starting university or college. The MenACWY vaccine is the best form of protection against these deadly diseases.
Learn more about NHS vaccinations