§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many students who had requested meningitis vaccine had not received it before returning to college this autumn; and what action is being taken to make it available to them as quickly as practicable. 
§ Yvette Cooper
[holding answer 19 October 1999]: Meningococcal A + C vaccine was recommended for higher education students starting their first year at university or college. It was recommended that first year students receive the vaccine either before the start of term or when they begin at university/college. Around 550,000 doses of meningococcal A & C vaccine were issued from the end of August, throughout September and into October. This quantity is well in excess of the target population.
The Department wrote direct to all 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. The Department also contacted direct those health centres and general practitioner practices which serve universities and colleges to see how best the vaccine could be delivered to them. The Health Education Authority 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 448W provided through student-focused media. Local implementation of the immunisation programme is managed by the local immunisation co-ordinator.