Protect yourself and others with vaccinations

Check you're up to date on your vaccinations

It's important that you keep up with your recommended vaccinations, both for your protection and others.

As a student you're at higher risk of infections because you'll be meeting and mixing with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry different bacteria. If you're uncertain about your protection, contact your GP.

Checking if you're up to date

If you're a UK student, ask your parents or guardians if they remember what vaccinations you've had, or if they still have your "red book" health record from when you were younger. If they don't, you can ask your GP practice for your records.

Ideally you should arrange to have any vaccinations you've missed before starting at university, or as soon as possible afterwards.

Recommended vaccinations for students

These are some of the vaccinations available through the NHS, depending on your health history.

You may be able to get a Covid-19 or flu vaccine through the NHS if you're more at risk of getting seriously ill from them For example, this could be because you have an underlying health condition or another risk factor. 

You can find out more about the NHS' latest recommendations and eligibility on their website:

Covid-19 vaccine > Flu vaccine >

Symptoms of Covid-19

Covid-19 signs and symptoms often include a sore throat, cough, fever and/or loss of taste and smell but other symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and cold-like symptoms can occur. 

NHS advice is to try and stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms, and a high temperature or do not feel well enough to do your normal activities.

The teenage booster, also known as the 3-in-1 or the Td/IPV vaccine, is given to boost protection against three separate diseases:

  • tetanus
  • diphtheria
  • polio

If you missed out at on the booster when you were at school, you can arrange a catch-up through your GP.

Td/IPV vaccine >

The HPV vaccine reduces your chances of getting human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that's spread through skin contact (usually when having sex). Some types of HPV are linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer.

If you missed getting vaccinated when you were 12 or 13, the HPV vaccine is available for free on the NHS for:

  • all women under 25
  • men under 45 who have sex with men
  • other people at higher risk from HPV

Read more about the HPV vaccine >

Some strains of meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) can be prevented with vaccinations. 

If you're coming to university and are under the age of 25, you should check you've had your MenACWY vaccine. This is especially the case if you missed having it at school or before coming to the UK to study.

MenACWY vaccine >

Signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia

It's also important that everyone is aware of the signs and symptoms of both meningitis and septicaemia, including:

  • violent and severe headaches
  • high temperature/fever
  • vomiting
  • neck stiffness
  • dislike of bright lights
  • drowsiness/lethargy
  • joint pains
  • fits
  • a rash may appear

Get medical help immediately if you or your friends experience these symptoms - call NHS 111 for urgent advice, or 999 in a medical emergency. For more information visit the NHS website.

The MMR vaccine is a safe and effective combined vaccine offered to babies in the UK. If you've not had two doses, and are about to start university, you should ask your GP surgery for an appointment.

It protects against three serious illnesses which can easily spread between unvaccinated people:

  • measles
  • mumps
  • rubella (german measles)

These conditions can also lead to serious problems including meningitis, hearing loss and problems during pregnancy.

Read more about the MMR vaccine > 

Signs and symptoms of measles, mumps and rubella


Measles starts with cold-like symptoms and sore red eyes followed by a high temperature and a red-brown blotchy rash. If you experience these symptoms, call NHS 111.


Mumps is recognised by the painful swellings at the side of the face under the ears. However more general symptoms often develop a few days before the face swells. These can include:


  • joint pain
  • feeling sick
  • dry mouth
  • mild abdominal pain
  • feeling tired
  • loss of appetite
  • a high temperature (fever) of 38°C (100.4°F), or above


Getting help from the NHS

Health advice - NHS 111

Call 111 or visit for health advice. It's a free service that allows you to speak to NHS staff who can give you health advice or help find which service is best for you.

Illnesses and minor injuries

The Urgent Treatment Centre and Minor Injury Unit at St Mary's Hospital, east of the University campus can help with minor illnesses and injuries

They can offer treatment, advice and information for incidents like minor head and eye wounds, treating sprains, strains and breaks to arms, lower legs and feet. 

Calling an ambulance 

If you or someone else has a serious or life-threatening injury or condition on campus, call the Security Lodge for an ambulance on extension 3333 or +44 (0)23 9284 3333. You'll be asked:

  • The location, including the area or room in the building
  • The phone number you're calling from
  • What's happened?

The Security Lodge will call an ambulance and dispatch caretakers and security to assist and arrange access for the ambulance crew. They will call you back to confirm that the ambulance is on its way.

Life threatening emergencies

If you need urgent medical treatment for a life threatening emergency, the local hospital in Portsmouth is Queen Alexandra Hospital ("QA Hospital") in the north of the city.

The Emergency Department at QA Hospital treats those with life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, persistent or severe chest pain, breathing difficulties or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. 

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It's important to get registered to be able to access local health services.

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