UNIVERSITY students across Sussex are being reminded to get themselves protected against meningitis when the new term starts.
All young children are offered the meningitis C jab but the vaccine wanes over time so a booster was introduced for teenagers last year.
For the next few years, university freshers will also be eligible for vaccination until the teenagers who have had the booster reach university age.
Max Kammerling, Public Health England’s screening and immunisations lead for Sussex, said it was vital those about to start at the county’s three universities were up to date with their vaccinations.
He said: “Meningococcal C (menC) 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 infection.
“The booster is available to any student entering university for the first time born after September 1995 and who received the vaccine under the age of ten 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 to university.
“Ideally, freshers should have the menC vaccination at least two 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.”
More about meningitis and its symptoms at www.meningitis.org.