The catch-up programme has been implemented to ensure young adults who received their initial dose of meningococcal C vaccine in childhood are protected from the disease when starting university, as it can spread quickly in shared accommodation such as halls of residence.
The new programme follows a change to the routine meningitis C vaccination schedule earlier this year when the second dose of the vaccine, previously given at four months of age, was removed and an adolescent booster dose was introduced to be given at the same time as the teenage tetanus, diphtheria and polio vaccine, in order to extend protection into early adulthood.
The catch-up programme will run for several years until university entrants have received a dose of meningitis C vaccine routinely in adolescence.
Those who should be vaccinated are:
- students entering university born after September 1995 who received previous dose(s) of the vaccine when under ten years of age
- any other student who is unimmunised or partially immunised against meningitis C
Eligible students will be notified via the Universities and Colleges Administration Service (UCAS) and should attend their GP practice for vaccination from August 2014.
For a quick-reference summary of the routine childhood immunisation schedule, see the MIMS table.