STUDENTS URGED TO GET VACCINATED BEFORE UNIVERSITY
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), formerly known as Public Health England, is encouraging students to get vaccinated before they start/ return to University to protect themselves against a range of life-threatening illnesses.
Starting university and attending Fresher’s Week exposes students to a host of viruses and bacteria – some of which for the first time.
First year or returning students can be at increased risk of serious diseases such as meningitis, septicaemia and measles as they mix with large numbers of other students from around the country and overseas.
We strongly advise the following 3 vaccinations at a minimum for students:
– Protects against 4 common strains causing meningitis and septicaemia
– Protects against measles, mumps, rubella
– Protects against HPV-related cancers including cervical, penile & throat cancers, alongside protection against genital warts. HPV vaccination is estimated to prevent up to 90% of HPV-related cancers.
– Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY)
– Meningococcal B (MenB)
UKHSA vaccine coverage data shows around 1 in 8 new students going to college and university this year remain unprotected against these 4 strains of meningococcal bacteria, each of which can cause long term disability, serious health complications and can be life threatening.
The MenACWY vaccine is given by a single injection into the upper arm and protects against four different strains of the meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia): A, C, W, and Y. You can book online.
The MenB vaccine is also given as an injection to the upper arm but is a 2-dose course for full protection. It protects agains the B-strain of the meningococcal bacteria. You can book online.
Cases of meningitis, particularly virulent strain Men W & Men B, have been rapidly rising amongst students since 2009.
What is Meningitis W?
Meningitis is a bacterial infection of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal meningitis (Men W) is a highly serious form of bacterial meningitis that can lead to septicaemia. It is spread by droplets that come from a person who is infected with the bacteria.
Although the strain is most likely to affect babies, statistics reveal that older children, teenagers, and adults are also at risk. In recent times, cases amongst normally healthy teenagers have spiked and the fatality percentage is higher with Meningitis W than it is with the most common strains, Meningitis B and C.
Meningitis can progress quickly leading to blood poisoning (sepsis), which can kill within 24 hours. So, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia (sepsis).
Early symptoms of Meningitis include:
- a high temperature (fever)
- being sick (vomiting)
- a rash that does not fade when a glass is rolled over it (but a rash will not always develop)
- a stiff neck
- a dislike of bright lights
- cold feet and hands
- or muscular pain
Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection. It happens when your immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage your body’s own tissues and organs. Symptoms can be vague but include:
- acting confused, slurred speech or not making sense
- blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
- a rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it, the same as meningitis
- difficulty breathing, breathlessness or breathing very fast
Many people confuse the symptoms with just a hangover or freshers’ flu, which is one of the theories as to why students are so high-risk. So, check-in on your friends who are unwell. Symptoms can progress rapidly so urgent action in getting medical attention is critical – call NHS 111 straight away
Protection against this strain of Meningitis W is provided through the Meningitis ACWY vaccine. Only one dose is required.
We also carry an excellent stock of the Meningitis B vaccine and can provide both vaccinations at the same time should you require it.
Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) Vaccination
Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection which is spread in the same way as the flu. Coughing, sneezing and kissing can rapidly spread the infection, especially in the close quarters of student accommodation.
Measles is a very infectious viral infection which is also spread by coughing and sneezing. There have been multiple outbreaks of Measles around the world including the UK this year, so it’s important to make sure you are protected as you socialise with new peers.
Both Mumps and Measles can be prevented by safe and effective vaccination, MMR.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination
HPV is a common virus that is passed on via genital contact. There are more than 100 HPV types which infect genital areas. Sometimes they cause no harm and the infection can go away on its own. However, the virus can persist and cause cells to change which can lead to some forms of cancers; cervical, head, neck & throat or genital warts. More information on HPV can be found here.
The HPV vaccine is offered at our clinic for girls and boys to protect against HPV-related cancers and genital warts. Book your HPV vaccination appointment online
Other vaccinations that we recommend for students starting/ returning to University are:
Every year different flu strains circulate and infect millions of people. Being exposed to a new pool of infections in University accommodation can increase the risk of catching the flu. Having the flu jab before you go to University will help protect you against the flu and stop you getting sick.
Flu jabs become available from 3rd September and can be booked online.
If you are from outside the UK, you should be vaccinated against tuberculosis (TB) before you enter the UK. A weakened strain of tuberculosis, the BCG Vaccine, is injected to protect against the infection. Those unsure of their immunity can have a simple Mantoux test to confirm.
Tetanus is a rare condition caused by bacteria entering a wound. We recommend making sure you are up to date with your DTP vaccinations and boosters before leaving for university. This vaccine protects against tetanus as well as Diptheria and Polio. Don’t let a cut or burn ruin your freshers week.
Wellness VACCINATIONS AT FLEET STREET CLINIC
Fleet Street Clinic offers a friendly environment and a team of experienced medics to administer all wellness vaccinations. We meet rigorous quality management standards to ensure we offer you the highest standards of clinical care: you can feel confident you are in safe hands.
Secure your peace of mind by ensuring you are protected. Get your vaccines before university starts to receive protection in time.
For the full The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) statement, click here.
Recent media reports have raised awareness of the effects of Meningitis B and the importance of the meningitis vaccine (if your child is aged under 12 months, the vaccine still readily available via your NHS doctor). Less well-known is the fact that there are different strains of Meningitis, with different vaccines protecting against them. Some of the recent cases reported in the media have actually been caused by Meningitis W or Meningitis C rather than the B strain, and it is important to know that vaccine protection is still widely available against those strains.
Strains and Meningitis Vaccines:
- Meningitis B: the protective single-strain meningitis B vaccine is Bexsero
- Meningitis A C W Y: the 4-strain vaccines Menveo and Nimenrix offer protection.
Meningococcal Meningitis and its Symptoms
Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It can affect people of any age, but those most commonly affected are children under 5, and teenagers and young adults heading off to university.
Initial symptoms may be similar to flu, progressing to:
- A high temperature/fever, with cold hands and feet
- Refusal to eat
- Floppy and unresponsive
- Rapid breathing
- Neck stiffness
- Bright light sensitivity
- Pale, blotchy skin, and a red rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is rolled over it
- Convulsions or seizures
Further information: https://www.meningitisnow.org/meningitis-explained/
The specialists at the Fleet Street Clinic recommend getting your children vaccinated not just against Meningitis B, but against Meningitis A,C,W & Y strains as well (the vaccine is currently available and in stock).
Meningitis B Vaccines Availability
We currently do have a limited supply of Meningitis B vaccine, available on a first come, first served basis. You can book a Meningitis B vaccination appointment online.