Student Wellbeing works in partnership with the local Health & Social Care Trusts to ensure that our students have access to information and support regarding any medical or health concerns.
It is important that you look after your health and we have outlined some key considerations to help you.
Getting back together
Now that students and staff are returning to campuses for the new academic year vaccinations are more important than ever. Mixing and living in halls or shared accommodation means you are more at risk of infectious diseases, including measles, mumps and meningitis.
Don’t let infectious disease spoil your time at university.
Missed you free MMR or MenACWY vaccines? If you’re not sure, contact your GP practice, to check whether you have had the vaccines, and to make an appointment.
Checklist for getting back together
- Two doses of MMR vaccine (protects against Measels, Mumps and Rubella)
- One dose of MenACWY (protects against Meningitis)
- Two doses of COVID-19 vaccine
- Two doses of HPV vaccination* (protects against Human Papillomavirus which can cause genital warts and HPV-associated cancers)
*for female students up to 25 years of age. Male students who are MSM can have the HPV vaccine up to 45 years of age at STI / GUM clinics.
Know the signs and symptoms of meningitis and sepsis and how to seek medical advice.
Being up to date with vaccinations is important for all of us, but even more so for students starting university who will be meeting, mixing and living with lots of new people. Universities can be hot spots for measles, mumps, and meningococcal disease as well as COVID-19 as they present the perfect opportunity for infections to spread.
One in five young adults who start university for the first time will have missed routine vaccines earlier in life that protect against potentially fatal conditions.
Register with a local GP as soon as you arrive at university
Ulster University does not operate an on-campus health centre, so in case of emergency it is important that you register with a medical practice that is close to your accommodation, either on or off campus. Find your nearest GP practice or Out of Hours GP for urgent medical treatment.
It is also important to register with a local dentist as no dental facilities are operated by the university. Find your nearest dental practice or Out of Hours dentist for emergencies.
Get your Men-ACWY vaccination
The Public Health Agency (PHA) recommends that all students (up to the age of 25 years) who are starting university for the first time should be vaccinated against meningitis.
This should happen at least two weeks before you start university, but you can still get the vaccine after you register.
Get more information on Men-AWCY vaccination
Meningococcal disease (meningitis and sepsis) is a rare, but life-threatening, disease caused by meningococcal bacteria. It requires urgent hospital treatment. It can lead to life-changing disabilities such as amputations, hearing loss, brain damage, and scars. It can affect anyone at any age.
New university students are at higher risk of the disease than other people of the same age because many of them mix closely with lots of new people – some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria at the back of their noses and throats.
The MenACWY vaccine can prevent three of the four most common forms of meningococcal disease in the UK and has been routinely offered to young people aged 13 to 15 (school Years 9 or 10) in school, and to some older teenagers by their GP practice. Most freshers that started university in September 2021 will have been eligible for the vaccine as part of these vaccination programmes.
Any university student born on or after 1 September 1996 who was eligible but missed their teenage MenACWY vaccine can still have the vaccine up to their 25th birthday.
Other students, including overseas and mature students, who have not yet had the MenACWY vaccine are eligible, as freshers, up to their 25th birthday.
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that is spread by coughs and sneezes. It can sometimes lead to serious complications and in rare cases can be fatal. Measles can be prevented by having two doses of the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine.
The MMR vaccine is offered to all children as a two-dose course which should be completed before they start school.
Anyone who has not had two doses of the MMR vaccine can catch measles. Call your GP practice to check if you are up to date and get the vaccine for free on the NHS.
Mumps is a viral illness that is spread by coughs, sneezes and close contact with someone who already has the infection. We saw an increase in mumps activity in 2019 with most cases in young people who had not been immunised. Mumps outbreaks are common in university settings and the best way to protect yourself is to have two doses of the MMR vaccine.
It is never too late to get the vaccine. If it’s not clear whether you’ve had both doses or not, there’s no harm in getting an extra dose.
Prepare for your travel health
Ulster University encourages students to consider study abroad opportunities and international placement as part of their degree, but many students also decide to travel during the summer break.
If you are considering a trip abroad to work or study, you need to ensure that you have the right health insurance or health cover.
For further information, please see the links in our resources.
If you are an international student, we can provide information on how to register locally with a GP and check your own health insurance cover to make sure you can access health care in Northern Ireland.
Further information on accessing local medical care will be given at orientation talks when you arrive at the University.