Being up to date with all vaccinations is important for all of us, but even more so for students starting university and college who will be meeting, mixing and living with lots of new people.
Universities can be hot spots for measles, mumps, meningitis and sepsis as well as flu and COVID-19 as they present the perfect opportunity for infections to spread.
Some students who start university for the first time this autumn will have missed routine vaccines earlier in life that protect them against potentially fatal conditions.
Before leaving for university, check you are up to date with vaccinations.
Even if you have already started university, you should still check with your GP surgery if you are up to date with your vaccines.
You should have received the following vaccines up to the age of 16 as part of the routine vaccination programme:
two doses of MMR vaccine
one dose of MenACWY vaccine (available up to your 25th birthday)
five doses of diphtheria, tetanus, and polio containing vaccine
one dose of HPV vaccine
Males (born after 01.09.2006) and females can have the HPV vaccine until they reach their 25th birthday. Men who have sex with men (GBMSM) can have the HPV vaccine up to 45 years of age at a sexual health service.
Also, don’t forget to arrange to have an autumn flu vaccine (for those in groups at higher risk from flu.)
Everyone who can be vaccinated should take up the offer as this helps to protect vulnerable people who can’t be vaccinated for several reasons. Being fully vaccinated helps to stop the spread of infectious diseases and helps protect you, your family, your friends and staff.
To find out if your vaccinations are up to date, please contact your GP surgery.
Contact your GP surgery in the first instance. If you aren’t sure what vaccinations you’ve had, check. If your records are unavailable, or you think you have missed some vaccines, make an appointment to have them with your GP before you leave.
If you have moved to a new city for university and registered with a new GP, they should have your records and can check your vaccinations for you.
If in doubt, have your vaccinations and make sure you are fully protected. Being fully vaccinated, means you have the best protection. No vaccine is 100% effective, so you still should watch out for the signs and symptoms of any disease and look after your health. Then you can get on with enjoying everything that university has to offer.
We want everyone to be well and enjoy their time at university but mixing with new people can increase the spread of infectious diseases.
Make sure you have registered with a GP before you are ill. Many new students can catch ‘freshers’ flu’ and will need to rest. You can take over the counter medication such as paracetamol to help you feel better.
If you have symptoms of meningitis or sepsis, measles or mumps you should seek medical advice quickly. Signs and symptoms of meningitis and sepsis can be found at meningitisnow.org.
You can visit the NHS 111 Wales website or call 111 for advice over the phone.
In a medical emergency dial 999.
If you are unwell, tell someone, preferably someone who can check that you are ok and call for help if you are not. Trust your instincts, stay in touch with your neighbours and look out for each other.
If you think you have COVID-19, please follow the latest Welsh Government guidance here: