Public Health England urges freshers to get MenC vaccine before beginning university
The protection offered by the
infant meningococcal vaccine wanes so PHE recommends new students
get a booster before they begin classes.
Public Health England (PHE) is
urging new students ('freshers') to ensure they get vaccinated
against meningococcal C (MenC) infection before beginning
university in September.
In the UK, all children are
offered MenC vaccine to protect them
againstMenC infection but, as the protection offered by the
vaccine can wane, a booster for teenagers was added last year. For
the next few years, university freshers will also be eligible for
vaccination, until the teenagers who have had the booster reach
Dr Shamez Ladhani, an expert on
meningococcal disease for PHE, said:
Meningococcal C disease is a rare but life-threatening infection
that occurs mainly in children and young adults. Students starting
university and mixing with lots of new people, some of whom may
unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria, are at risk of
As the protection offered by the infant MenC vaccine
wanes over time we are recommending university 'freshers' get a
booster before they begin university, even if they received it as a
young child. The addition of the
'freshers' MenC immunisation will contribute to the
highly successful vaccination programme we have in the UK.
The MenC booster is available to any student entering
university for the first time born after September 1995 and who
received the MenC vaccine under the age of 10 years, or
any student of any age entering or being at university who is
unvaccinated against MenC disease. Anyone born before
September 1995 and who received the MenC vaccination at
secondary school won't need another dose.
If you can't remember, the best thing to do
is to check with your doctor before you go off to university.
Ideally, Freshers should have the MenCvaccination at least 2
weeks before they go away to study. However, anyone starting
university without the booster should arrange to get it as soon as
possible, via their university or college health centre or GP.
If in doubt, there is no harm in having an extra dose.
The vaccine is also important for students coming to study from
abroad who are unable to get the vaccine at home. Again, they
should obtain it as soon as possible.
Notes to editors
- Read the
student information leaflet on the MenC vaccine.
- More information about Men C vaccinations for students and a
poster download is available from the
Meningitis Research Foundation. Information is also available
from the Meningitis Now
NHS leaflet about the MenC vaccine is also
- Public Health England's mission is to protect and improve the
nation's health and to address inequalities through working with
national and local government, the NHS, industry and the voluntary
and community sector.PHE is an operationally autonomous
executive agency of the Department of Health.
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk