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Students - Is vaccination on your to do list?

7 September 2021

It has been a challenging year for everyone. Students and staff are returning to campuses around the UK and vaccinations are more important than ever. Everyone over the age of 16 years is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Being up to date with all vaccinations is important for all of us, but even more so for students starting university who will be meeting, mixing and living with lots of new people. Universities can be hot spots for measles, mumps, and meningococcal disease as well as COVID-19 as they present the perfect opportunity for infections to spread. 

One in five young adults who start university for the first time this autumn will have missed routine vaccines earlier in life that protects against potentially fatal conditions.  

Tick list for getting back together 

Before leaving for university  

  1. Two doses of MMR vaccine    

  1. One dose of MenACWY~                  

  1. Two doses of COVID-19 vaccine 
    (16 and 17 first dose with second pending) 

  2. Two doses of HPV vaccination*       

  3. Know the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia  

  4. Know how to seek medical advice 

Once you get to university you should 
  1. Register with a GP as soon as you can – don’t wait until you have a problem 

  2. Arrange with your GP to catch up on any vaccines you have missed 
    (COVID-19 may be given in walk in centres) 

~up to 25th birthday 

*for female students up to 25 years of age, male students who are MSM can have the HPV vaccine up to 45 years of age at STD clinics 


Do you need to add vaccination to your to do list?  

Everyone who can be vaccinated must take up the offer as this helps to protect vulnerable people who can’t be vaccinated for several reasons. Being fully vaccinated helps to stop the transmission of infectious diseases and helps protect you, your family, your student peers and lecturers. 

To find out if your vaccinations are up to date please contact your GP surgery. 


COVID-19 vaccinations 

Anyone aged 18 years or older should have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to protect them against serious disease and hospitalisation. If you want to know more please visit the Public Health Wales COVID-19 vaccination information (opens in new window)   

If you have had one COVID-19 vaccine (opens in new tab) dose, at least 8 weeks ago, you should arrange to have your second dose as soon as possible. Having the second dose is important for longer protection.  

All 16 to 17-year-olds will also be offered the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Advice on when to have the second vaccine dose will come later. 

Whilst some people do still get COVID-19 infection after vaccination, their symptoms are usually much milder and they are less likely to have complications. Students who have certain health conditions may be offered a booster COVID-19 vaccination during the 2021 to 2022 academic year. We are encouraging students to remain vigilant.  

  • Regularly wash your hands and use alcohol based sanitiser if you can't use soap and water.  

  • Maintain social distancing where you can 

  • Wear a mask when required 

Be prepared to follow the guidance in your university and town or city. Face masks are still required in certain settings. In accommodation keep bedrooms and common rooms clean and well aired by opening windows where possible.

Feeling ill – tell someone! 

We want everyone to be well and enjoy their time at university but mixing with new people can increase the spread of infectious diseases. Make sure you have registered with a GP before you are ill. Many new students can catch ‘freshers flu’ and need to rest, and can take over the counter pain medication such as paracetamol to help them feel better. If you have symptoms of meningitis or sepsis, measles or mumps you should seek medical advice quickly.  

You can visit the NHS 111 Wales website (opens in new tab) or call 111 for advice over the phone. If 111 is not available in your area, call 0845 46 47. Calls to 111 are free from landlines and mobiles. Calls to 0845 46 47 cost 2p per minute plus your telephone provider’s usual access charge. 

In a medical emergency dial 999. If you are unwell, tell someone, preferably someone who can check that you are ok and call for help if you are not. Stay in touch with your neighbours and look out for each other.  

If you think you have COVID-19 please follow the latest government guidance (opens in new tab)

What do I need to do? 

Contact your GP surgery in the first instance. If you aren’t sure what vaccinations you’ve had, check. If your records are unavailable, or you think you have missed some vaccines, make an appointment to have them before you leave. 

Already at university? 

If you moved to a new city for university and registered with a new GP, they will have your records and check for you. 

If in doubt, have your vaccinations and make sure you are fully protected. Being fully vaccinated, means you have the best protection. No vaccine is 100% effective, so you still should watch out for the signs and symptoms of disease and look after your health. Then you can get on with enjoying everything that university has to offer.