Tuesday, 4 September 2012
New students starting university or college in the coming weeks are being urged to make sure they are up-to-date with their vaccinations.
Communities such as halls of residence and university campuses are the ideal place for infectious diseases to spread, and Public Health Wales is encouraging students to make sure they are protected before starting the new term.
Students should check that they have received the teenage booster vaccination, which is the fifth and final dose of a series of vaccinations they should have been offered in childhood.
The jab – usually given at around school Year 10 – protects against tetanus, diphtheria and polio and will offer immunity against these potentially fatal diseases into adulthood.
Meningitis C vaccine is also now in the routine immunisations for young children in the UK. If an older child (or young adult) has missed out on these vaccines, it’s never too late to get a vaccine for protection.
Outbreaks of measles and mumps in halls of residence are a risk at the start of a new university year, and so students are also urged to make sure they have received both doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.
MMR vaccines are normally given to children at around one year of age and with a second dose at around three years and four months of age, but many older children and young adults remain unvaccinated. It is never too late to catch up on missed doses.
Dr Richard Roberts, Head of Public Health Wales’s Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme, said: “Starting university or college is an exciting time and it would be a shame for the experience to be spoiled by a disease that could have been prevented.
“Whenever we mix with new people – especially when some of those people will have come from countries where some preventable diseases are more common – there is the risk of contracting infections which are preventable by a simple vaccination.
“By checking they are up-to-date with their teenage booster, meningitis C and MMR vaccinations, students can put that worry behind them and concentrate on university life.”
More information on vaccination is available from the Public Health Wales website at www.publichealthwales.org/immunisation
Source: Public Health Wales