Why you should have the MenACWY vaccine before you start uni

20 Jul 2018
By Unite Students, Staff writer at The Common Room

If you’re under 25 and you’re starting university for the first time this year, you’re advised to have a free vaccination to protect against meningitis and blood poisoning.

Cases of meningitis and septicaemia caused by the MenW strain have been rising in the UK.

Find out why and how below.

What is the MenACWY vaccine?

Various strains of meningococcal bacteria can cause meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia).

The MenACWY vaccine protects you against four of these strains: A, C, W, and Y.

How do I arrange to have the MenACWY vaccine?

Make an appointment with your GP to have the MenACWY vaccine. You should have the vaccine at least two weeks before you start university.

Why do I need the MenACWY vaccine?

Cases of meningitis and septicaemia caused by the MenW strain have been rising in the UK over the last 10 years. Cases are still rare, but they can cause serious illness and death.

Mixing with so many new people at university puts new students at a higher risk of infection. The vaccine is highly effective at protecting you, and helps prevent the spread of the disease.

Read more about the MenACWY vaccine and why freshers are advised to have it at the NHS Choices website

I had the MenACWY vaccine at school. Do I need it again?

No. If you know for certain that you had the MenACWY vaccine at school, aged 14, you do not need to have it again.

I’ve had the MenB and MenC vaccines. Is this the same thing?

No it’s not.

In the UK, all babies are offered the MenB and MenC vaccines. Even if you’ve had these, you should still make an appointment to have the MenACWY vaccine to protect against the A, W, and Y strains of meningococcal bacteria.

I don’t know if I’ve had the MenACWY vaccine. What do I do?

If you’re unsure about your immunisation history, speak to your GP. If your GP isn’t able to find out, they may decide to give you the vaccine as a precaution.

I’m an overseas student. Can I have the MenACWY vaccine?

Yes you can.

Register with a GP soon after you arrive in the UK, and ask your new GP about it. Alternatively, visit your university’s medical centre and speak to the doctor there.

I’m going to uni in Scotland. Can I have the MenACWY vaccine there?

No you can’t.

Scotland is not running the university freshers vaccination programme. If you live in England or Wales and you’re starting at a Scottish university this year, contact your home GP now to have the vaccine before you go.

Cases of meningitis and septicaemia caused by the MenW strain have been rising in the UK.
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Staff writer at The Common Room at The Common Room