The director of Public Health at Scotland’s largest health board has urged all new college and university students to get vaccinated against meningitis.
Dr Emilia Crighton issued the appeal to the thousands of first time students coming to the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, in response to the rising number of meningitis W strain cases.
The new Meningitis ACWY vaccine will be offered to students under 25 as part of a plan to cut down on a deadly new strain of ‘freshers flu’.
Dr Crighton said: “Meningitis affects more than 1,000 people in the UK every year, so it’s important that all first time students get vaccinated during Fresher’s Week or make an appointment with their GP.
“Sickness can be common in new students during the first few weeks of university and low immune systems can leave tired students open to complaints such as coughs, colds, and sore throats.
“However, in addition to these minor ailments, there has been a rise in the number of cases of the potentially fatal meningitis W across the UK. Getting the free vaccination takes just a couple of minutes and could end up being life saving.”
The catch up programme, which also protects against meningitis A, C and Y, is aimed at first time entrants to university who would otherwise miss out on the programme being offered to S3 pupils over the next four to five years.