In a statement PHE highlights that the fact that whilst this is an improvement in uptake levels since September 2016, this is still far too low, posing a threat to those returning to university after the festive break.
Using the data to launch a nationwide awareness campaign PHE are working alongside Universities UK to encourage students to get this lifesaving vaccine.
Rachel Robinson, acting CEO AT Meningitis Now said:
“We welcome Public Health England’s (PHE) timely reminder to students to get the Men ACWY vaccine and the support of Universities UK to ensure that the new meningitis guidelines are used higher educational establishments. We do however remain deeply concerned about the low level of uptake for the 2016 cohort at 29.5%, which remains stubbornly below the 2015 uptake rate of 38%.”
“Whilst we recognise the difficultly in reaching this group, we do have some worries that PHE may elect to inform GP surgeries in August as they did last year. We feel this is simply too late to be effective and that in doing they could risk a repeat of the current programme where GPs were trying contact students when they are focused on ‘A’ level results, securing a place at university and the summer holidays. We would ask PHE to commit to bring forward the GP notification programme to April to give GPs and the young people a realistic chance of getting of getting the protection before they leave home.”
“Clearly the updated guidelines for universities are an enormously valuable in the fight against meningitis and we would urge all universities to both use these and learn from the success of Nottingham University where a targeted vaccination Men ACWY campaign during registration and fresher’s week improved uptake to over 70%. We offer a range of free support materials for use by universities which can be ordered on downloaded from our uni section”
Download PHE's statement.