Public Health England (PHE) has urged students who will be starting the new college or university year to be up-to-date with their MenACWY and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations. These are essential to protect the students against diseases that are likely to spread quickly in large gatherings, including meningitis, septicaemia and measles.
The MenACWY vaccine is routinely offered to children in school years 9 and 10 and it protects against 4 meningococcal strains, including the aggressive W strain. Those who have missed out on the vaccination can still receive it until their 25th birthday. It is also essential for students to be aware of signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and seek early medical help for themselves or peers.
Measles infection can be more severe in young people and adults, often resulting in hospital admissions. It is possible that some individuals who are now of university or college age may not have received the MMR vaccine when they were younger, since MMR uptake in 2003 was 80%. Hence, it is advisable for any individual to receive MMR vaccine who has not previously received the 2 doses as a child.
Anyone suspecting measles or meningitis infection are advised to call NHS 111 right away.