Public Health England West Midlands are urging students to make sure they are up to date with their MenACWY and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines before the start of the new college or university year to ensure they’re protected against diseases that spread quickly in large gatherings including meningitis and septicaemia, and measles.

Students and their parentscan call their GP practice if they know they have not received either vaccine, or are unsure if they are up to date. It is important to catch up on vaccinations if they are needed before the start of the university term.

The MenACWY vaccine, introduced in 2015 in response to an increase in Men W cases among young people, is routinely offered to those in school years 9 and 10 to protect them against four meningococcal strains that include the aggressive W strain of the disease. Anyone who has missed out can still get vaccinated free of charge through their GP until their 25th birthday.

The MenACWY vaccine is especially important for students about to enter university who are at increased risk of meningococcal infection. It is also important for students to be aware of signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease as the vaccine does not protect against all forms of this disease and seeking early medical help for themselves or a friend could be live-saving.

Meningococcal bacteria can cause meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning) that are very serious and can kill, especially if not diagnosed early. They are