Freshers Week 2022: Students urged to get vaccinated against Meningitis and other life-threatening diseases

University students have been advised to make sure they are protected against diseases such as measles and meningitis.
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Students are being urged to keep up to date with their vaccinations ahead of Freshers Week. .

Tens of thousands of young people from various areas of the country and walks of life are due to mingle in new towns and cities and the risk of transmitting illnesses is high, so officials want to make sure students are protected.

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Charities are also supporting this pledge to ensure the protection of university students, as statistically there is a high risk of spreading disease at the beginning of the academic year.

Dr Shamez Ladhani, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said: “We know that colleges and universities can be hotspots for the spread of diseases such as meningitis and measles.”

“At the top of any list of essential things to get for college should be any missed vaccines - it could save your life.”

Here is everything you need to know.

What vaccines should students keep up-to-date with?

According to the UK government, there are three main vaccinations that students should make sure they are up to date with ahead of the academic year.

  • MenACWY - protects against four common strains causing meningitis and septicaemia
  • MMR - protects against measles, mumps and rubella
  • HPV (female-only) - protects against cervical and other cancers caused by human papilloma virus (HPV) with genital warts
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Please note that the MenACWY jab will be free to everyone up to their 25th birthday.

Students should aim to have any vaccinations that they have not yet received at least 2 weeks before starting university.

What are the symptoms of measles, meningitis, HPV and septicaemia?

Symptoms for meningitis and septicaemia are known for developing suddenly and involve a blotchy rash, fever and a headache.

Your muscles will also ache, as will your joints and your neck will be stiff.

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The MenW strain can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in teenagers and young adults. Urgent hospitalisation and treatment will be needed.

HPV does not usually cause any symptoms. Most people who have it do not realise and do not have any problems. But sometimes the virus can cause painless growths or lumps around your genital area.

Whilst measles, which is highly infectious, is more severe in teenages and young adults.

It starts with cold-like symptoms, sore red eyes, a high temperature and a blotchy rash.

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Dr Tom Nutt, who is the chief executive of Meningitis Now, issued the following statement: “Many young people will have been vaccinated against MenACWY at school, our estimates show that up to half a million under-25s may have missed this important vaccination. If that’s you, contact your GP and see if you can get up to date with your vaccinations.

How can I get updated with my vaccinations?

Anyone who is unsure as to what their vaccination status is are advised to check with their GP practice.

Through this, you will be able to arrange any missed vaccinations and appointments.

If you are unsure as to what GP you are registered with, or are not registered with one, please visit the official NHS website.