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Vaccinations you need before starting University: Top 6 health and vaccination tips

Updated: Jul 1

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Embarking on your journey as a university student is an exciting and transformative experience. As you prepare to enter the world of higher education university, it’s essential to prioritise your health and well-being. So what are the vaccinations you need for university? Ensuring you are up-to-date on vaccines and taking steps to maintain good health can set a solid foundation for a successful academic and personal life. In this blog, we will guide you through the steps that university students should take in preparation before they start, with a particular emphasis on vaccines recommended in accordance with national guidelines.

Here the top 6 health and vaccination tips before you start university

1. Consult your GP or Healthcare Provider

Before you start your university adventure, schedule a visit to your general practitioner (GP) or healthcare provider. They will review your medical history and discuss any specific health concerns you may have. This is also an excellent time to ensure that your vaccinations are up-to-date, especially if you are moving to a new region.

2. Routine vaccinations

Routine vaccinations are essential for maintaining good health and preventing the spread of contagious diseases. Ensure you are up to date on vaccinations such as:

  • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR): Two doses are typically recommended for full protection. If you have not received both doses, you should get vaccinated.

  • Meningococcal ACWY: university students, especially those living in dormitories, should be vaccinated against meningitis. It’s a serious bacterial infection that can spread rapidly in close quarters. You should  have had one in Year 9 (13-14yrs) as part of the UK national immunisation schedule

  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Polio: Check if you’re due for a booster shot of these vaccines. You should have completed the final dose of your course in Year 9 (13-14yrs) along with Men ACWY at school

  • COVID-19 Vaccination: Given the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, the UK government are offering seasonal COVID-19 vaccinations. You may be eligible for a free vaccine. Keep in mind that guidelines may evolve, so stay informed and follow recommended updates.

  • Human papilloma virus vaccine: this vaccine protects you from genital warts and more importantly cervical and genital cancers. If you studied in England you may have been offered the vaccine in year eight. If you have not had the vaccine or missed doses then please contact your GP or alternatively we can offer the vaccine privately .

  • Meningitis B:  This strain of the meningitis  bacteria is the pre-dominant strain in the UK and is now part of the National immunisation schedule. Since 2016, all babies in the UK are offered vaccinations, as young children are at highest risk but you should also consider getting vaccinated for meningitis B. 

3. International students and travel vaccinations

International students planning to study in the UK should pay special attention to vaccination requirements and recommendations. The UK government and your university may have specific guidelines for international students regarding vaccinations. 

While routine vaccinations like MMR and meningococcal ACWY are typically recommended, you should also be vaccinated for tuberculosis (BCG vaccination) before you arrive in the UK. Although it is possible to be vaccinated by independent clinics such as Health Klinix , there is a charge for this. Read our blog on TB and the BCG vaccination to find out more.

If you are applying for a student visa, you might also need to be tested for tuberculosis. Find out more about tuberculosis tests for visa applicants

Additionally, if you plan to travel back and forth between the UK and your home country during your studies, research the vaccination requirements of both countries to ensure you meet all necessary criteria. Common travel vaccines may include hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and yellow fever, depending on your travel plans.

Remember, vaccination regulations may vary from one country to another, so it’s crucial to stay informed and take appropriate action well before your departure to ensure a smooth transition into your new academic adventure in the UK. 

4. Mental Health Preparation

While physical health is crucial, don’t forget about your mental well-being. University life can be demanding, and it’s essential to prepare mentally. Consider talking to a counsellor or therapist before starting university if you have concerns about mental health issues or need guidance on coping with stress.

5. Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Start building healthy lifestyle habits now to carry you through your university years. Focus on:

  • Balanced Diet: Incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your meals.

  • Regular Exercise: Find a physical activity you enjoy and make it a part of your routine.

  • Adequate Sleep: Aim for at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.

  • Stress Management: Learn techniques like mindfulness, yoga, or meditation to manage stress effectively.

6. Register with a local GP near your university

Once you arrive at your university, register with a local GP near your campus. This ensures easy access to healthcare services if you fall ill or need medical attention during your studies. They may also be able to offer some of the vaccines listed above.

Preparation is key as you embark on your journey as a university student. By prioritising your health and staying up-to-date with vaccinations, you can create a solid foundation for academic success and personal well-being. Remember, your health is your most valuable asset, so take the necessary steps to protect it as you enter this exciting phase of your life.

Author: Dr Ravi Gowda, Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Travel Medicine, Health Klinix

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