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Southwark Public Health Info

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Helping to protect students from vaccine preventable infectious diseases.

This article is about informing students about the health services available in Southwark.

Help to protect your health.

It is important that all students are aware that infectious diseases can spread easily in universities and colleges. All students must ensure they are up to date will all their vaccinations and should check with their parents/guardians first if they can remember or still have their red book which should include vaccines given and, if they don’t know they should check with their GP practice.

All GP practices should be able to offer Men ACWY, MMR, HPV and any missed dT/IPV teenage booster vaccines to eligible students. International students are also eligible for these routine vaccines with similar age-related caveats.

Students can protect themselves against these diseases by making sure they are up to date with any of the following routine vaccines they may have missed. If that’s not possible they should make arrangements with their new GP as soon as they can after starting university or college. These vaccines include:

  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine
  • MenACWY vaccine (protecting against 4 types of meningococcal disease)
  • HPV vaccine for female students, protecting against cervical and other cancers caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) together with genital warts
  • Td/IPV booster vaccine protecting against diphtheria, tetanus and polio

For Scotland, information about accessing vaccination records and how to get any missing vaccines is available at

How to seek medical advice

Students should get medical help or advice immediately if they are worried about their own or someone else’s health. Students who are concerned and need advice, but do not need urgent care for themselves or another student, should call 111 which is a free 24-hour nonemergency health service number in England, Scotland and Wales. Alternatively, students can visit NHS 111 for online support and signposting, this line is also accessible to hearing impaired students who are Deaf and contact 111 by textphone.

MenACWY vaccine and meningococcal disease

It is also important to remind students (and freshers in particular) to get the MenACWY vaccine if they missed this at school. This is important because it protects against meningococcal disease that can cause meningitis (dangerous swelling of the lining around the brain and spinal column) alongside septicaemia (blood poisoning) which can both trigger sepsis. Meningitis and septicaemia can both be fatal or cause life-changing disabilities.

The MenACWY vaccine is given by a single injection into the upper arm and protects against 4 different kinds of meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and septicaemia: MenA, MenC, MenW and MenY.

Students who have not yet had this vaccine should contact their GP practice to have the MenACWY vaccine before starting university or college. If that’s not possible, they should have it as soon as possible. The MenACWY vaccine is the best form of protection against these deadly diseases and is currently keeping these 4 forms of meningococcal disease at very low levels. The vaccine is available to anyone who has not had the vaccine up to their 25th birthday including overseas students.

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