Important vaccinations

Wherever possible we strongly recommend that you receive the following vaccines before you arrive in Oxford, if you have not already had them:

  • Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) if you are under 25 years of age
  • Measles Mumps and Rubella - MMR1 and MMR 2, i.e. the normal two doses

Contact your GP surgery to arrange this, if necessary. Both immunisations should be readily available outside the UK for international students.

Once you have arrived in Oxford you should register with your College Doctor or another local General Practitioner and ask them if you are unsure whether you are up to date with any recommended immunisations.

Meningococcal Disease

As a new student you may be at particular risk of contracting meningococcal disease and spreading it to others, as you are likely to be mixing closely with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly be carrying the meningococcal bacteria. Meningococcal disease can cause meningitis (inflammation of the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning) that can kill in hours, and those who recover may be left severely disabled.

Please note that meningitis is not the same condition as encephalitis, against which students from some countries might have been immunised. If you have been immunised against any form of encephalitis, you will still need the MenACWY vaccine.

There are multiple strains of bacteria that can cause meningococcal disease and even though the MenACWY protects against four of them, there are other strains that can cause severe disease so students should still be aware of the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease even if they are vaccinated so they can get urgent medical attention if required.

Further information on meningitis and the MenACWY vaccine is available on the NHS website.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella

Measles and mumps are circulating in the general UK population, particularly among young people. Several outbreaks of mumps have occurred at both universities in Oxford and, year-on-year, the number of cases continues to be significant. If you are not certain that you have received the two MMR immunisations, then in line with national policy, we recommend that you obtain them before arriving at University with a month between each dose.

Further information on measles, mumps and rubella, and immunisation against them, is again available on the NHS website.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

The HPV vaccine helps protect against genital warts and cancers (such as cervical cancer) caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). All children aged 12 to 13 (school year 8) are now offered the HPV vaccine. If you missed getting vaccinated when you were 12 or 13, the HPV vaccine is available for free on the NHS for:

  • all girls under 25
  • boys born after 1 September 2006 (up until their 25th birthday)

Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men are at higher risk from HPV.

  • If you're a man under 45 who has sex with men and you attend a sexual health or HIV clinic, you can get vaccinated against HPV.
  • You're eligible for the vaccine up until your 45th birthday.

Influenza and COVID-19

Some students might be at an increased risk of getting serious ill from influenza and/or COVID-19. If you think you might be in a high clinical risk group, contact your GP at the start of term to see if you need to have a flu vaccine or a first COVID-19 vaccine or booster, and read more about the National Flu Immunisation Programme on the UK Government website.


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