Kent and Medway school leavers encouraged to help save lives by getting vaccinated

21 August 2019

As Kent and Medway teenagers prepare to head for university or college, the local NHS is urging them to make the smart choice and check all their immunisations are up-to-date before they go.

School leavers are encouraged to ensure that they are vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and meningococcal disease, which can lead to meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning). This call to action comes on the back of Public Health England writing to all five to 19 year olds in Kent and Medway who haven’t had their MMR vaccinations to make an appointment.

In the months from January to July this year, there were 16 cases of measles and 38 of mumps in Kent and Medway.

Screening and Immunisation Lead for Kent and Medway, Dr John Rodriguez, said:

“Measles is not a harmless childhood illness as many think – it is extremely infectious, can affect anyone and sadly in some instances can have very serious long term and life changing consequences.

“Teenagers who are unsure if they have had the two doses of MMR should check with their GP and make an appointment if required.”

School leavers are also being urged to get vaccinated against meningococcal disease.

John added: “The MenACWY vaccination is highly effective and can save lives and prevent devastating, lifelong disability.

“New students should be alert to the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia and should not wait for a rash to develop before seeking medical attention urgently. Students are also encouraged to look out for their friends, particularly if they go to their room unwell.

“With lots of people in confined environments and close mixing, universities and colleges can be hot spots for measles, mumps and meningococcal disease as they present the perfect opportunity for the infection to spread.”

School leavers are encouraged to get their vaccines from their GP, ideally before they leave home, or as soon as they arrive where they are studying.