§ Lord Clement-Jones
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether all students have now had the opportunity of being vaccinated with meningitis C vaccine. [HL156]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath)
Meningococcal A & C vaccine was recommended for higher education students starting their first year at university or college, either before the start of term or when they began at university/college. This programme began in early September and is largely complete. Over 575,000 doses of meningococcal A & C vaccine have been issued in total, which is well in excess of the target population. All first-year students should now have had the opportunity to be immunised. Further supplies are available for general practitioners.
The Health Education Authority (HEA) wrote to first-year students through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, telling them about the arrangements for immunisation. The Department of Health wrote to universities and colleges asking them to ensure that arrangements were in place for the vaccine to be offered to all first-year students who had not been immunised before term started. The HEA sent packs of information, including special leaflets, to all universities and colleges so that they could target those first-year students who had not been immunised. Publicity was also provided through student focused media. The department is encouraging students who still wish to be immunised to arrange appointments with their GPs.
A survey carried out on behalf of the department at a representative selection of universities and colleges showed that 73 per cent of the students sampled reported that they had been immunised with meningococcal vaccine. This is a high up-take in circumstances where there is no routine vaccination programme in place.