Jabs to get before Uni

Before you start stocking up on duvet covers and cutlery for your exciting journey into University life, here’s a friendly…

Before you start stocking up on duvet covers and cutlery for your exciting journey into University life, here’s a friendly reminder to add something crucial to your to-do list: vaccines!

Ideally, it’s a smart move to catch up on any vaccines you might have missed before you even set foot on campus. This way, you can build up your immunity and stay protected right from the start. But if that’s not doable, no worries! As soon as you arrive at the University, make it a priority to get any missed vaccines at your new GP practice. Don’t wait until you’re under the weather to register with your new GP – do it ASAP!

Let’s dive into the specifics of a few important vaccines:

Meningococcal ACWY Immunisation

Meningitis and septicaemia are pretty rare but serious diseases. The MenACWY vaccine is your superhero shield against these life-threatening illnesses. Fresh university students face a slightly higher risk because they often stay in halls and mingle closely with new people, some of whom might unknowingly carry the meningitis bacteria. If you’ve had a dose of MenACWY at school, you’re good to go; no need for more shots!

NHS poster aimed at University students advertising the importance of getting your meningitis vaccination

MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella)

Measles and mumps have been making a sneaky comeback on campus in the UK lately. These highly contagious viruses are spread through coughs and sneezes. The MMR vaccine, given in a single shot, offers protection against all three of these nasties. Most likely, you received two doses as a kid, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check with your GP before you embark on your university adventure.

HPV (Human Papillomavirus)

This one is all about preventing cervical and other cancers along with genital warts caused by HPV. While most HPV strains are harmless, some can cause trouble. The vaccine shields you from the high-risk types that can lead to cancers. Usually, you’d need two doses, but in England, it’s down to one from September 2023. If you went to school in England, there’s a chance you were offered the HPV vaccine during Year 8.

For female students, the UK Government strongly recommends ensuring that you’re up-to-date on your HPV vaccinations. If you’ve missed any doses or haven’t received the vaccine yet, don’t hesitate to reach out to your GP surgery right away.

Additionally, it’s important to note that HPV vaccine eligibility extends to LGBTQ+ students who have sex with men. Transgender individuals may also be eligible for the HPV vaccine. For more detailed information, please refer to the NHS guidance on the HPV vaccine. Your health matters, so make sure you’re informed and protected!

Plane keyring on yellow background, block text says 'travel safe' shrouded by vaccine bottles.

International Students

Now, if you’re an international student coming to the UK, special rules apply:

  • Make sure you’re up to date with all immunizations recommended by the UK Government’s Department of Health.
  • TB vaccination is a must before entering the UK, and if you’re applying for a Student visa, you’ll likely need a TB test.
  • Talk to your doctor about any other vaccines you might need for your UK adventure. Also, check with your local embassy to see if there are any mandatory vaccines for your journey.
  • Ideally, get your vaccinations done before you leave home to avoid any unexpected costs in the UK.
  • If you’ve got records of your vaccinations, like an International Vaccination Book, be sure to bring it along to the university. It might come in handy.

It’s absolutely crucial that students in specific health risk groups prioritize getting any additional vaccines that are recommended for them, including those that protect against flu and COVID-19. Stay safe, stay healthy, and enjoy university!

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