TopicsImmunisation & IllnessFreshers unprotected against meningitis, warns UKHSA and charities

Freshers unprotected against meningitis, warns UKHSA and charities

This September, around one in eight new students at college and university are likely to be unprotected against four types of meningitis.

The vaccination rate for MenACWY has fallen to 79.6%, reveals UKHSA coverage data from 2021 to 2022. This means figures are likely to rise to around one in five unprotected students in just a few years’ time. New and returning students are at higher risk of meningitis, septicaemia and measles as people come from around the country and overseas.

The UKHSA are urging all students to check they are up-to-date on all routine NHS vaccines. These include MenACWY, MMR and HPV. Students should also know the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia in order to protect themselves and others.

Claire Wright of the Meningitis Research Foundation said individual vaccination benefits everyone:

‘Meningitis can kill healthy people within hours and in the early stages is difficult to distinguish from a bad hangover or more common milder illnesses. By taking up the free MenACWY vaccine, students are not only protecting themselves but also protecting others by stopping the bacteria from being passed on.’

Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA Dr Shamez Ladhani said:

‘Every year we see new and returning students get seriously ill, with some tragically dying, from what are preventable diseases.

‘If you’ve missed out on your meningitis (MenACWY), HPV or MMR jabs then contacting your GP for the vaccine should be top of your list of urgent things to do before starting college or university.’

Image | Shutterstock


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