Vaccinations for Students: Staying Safe & Healthy

We want you to enjoy your university experience and to do this with a reduced risk of becoming unwell from a number of illnesses including Coronavirus.

To support you in getting the Coronavirus vaccine, if you wish to do so, be it your first or second the University is opening walk-in vaccination centres from the 17th September.

Getting a vaccination at one of our walk in sites is easy, you don’t need to be registered with a GP or have booked a prior appointment, all you need is your NHS number.  If you are worried when you visit one of our vaccination centres, rest assured that we have vaccine ‘reassurers’ on hand to provide support and advice to anyone receiving their vaccine.

If you are worried about the vaccine because of any existing medical issues you feel could interfere with the vaccination, you should contact your GP for help and advice or phone 111.

If you would prefer to book an appointment rather than just walking in you can use the University’s booking service.  

Dates and times of our vaccinations centres are as follows:


Luton Campus (Ground floor at the Campus Centre near Careers and Innovations & Enterprise)
Saturday 18 September – 10am – 4pm
Monday 20 September – 10am – 4pm
Tuesday 21 September – 10am – 4pm
Monday 4 October – 10am – 4pm
Tuesday 5 October – 10am- 4pm

Bedford Campus (Ground floor at Campus Centre, outside the theatre)
Saturday 18 September – 10am – 4pm
Wednesday 22 September – 10am – 4pm
Thursday 23 September – 10am – 4pm
Wednesday 6 October – 10am – 4pm
Thursday 7 October – 10am – 4pm

Each vaccination station will have three tables set out with three chairs, and approximately 30 chairs to provide a ‘waiting area’.

Once you have received your vaccine you may be asked to wait for 15 minutes before leaving, so that medical staff can monitor any potential side effects.  For more information about the Covid-19 vaccine click here.

Coronavirus

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are effective methods of reducing the risk of becoming unwell from coronavirus. 

All adults aged 18 or over can now be vaccinated against COVID-19.  You do not need to wait to be contacted by the NHS.  If you were contacted but have not booked your appointments, you’re still eligible and can book your appointments anytime.

Other ways you can arrange your vaccine:

  1. Booking your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online or at a vaccination centre or pharmacy.
  2. Waiting for contact from your GP surgery and booking your appointments with them.  
  3. Attending a drop in session. You will not need to book an appointment, just turn up and wait.  Check your local council’s website for further details.

The University’s COVID- 19 pages has further information on Covid-19 vaccinations.

Other important vaccinations

Universities can be hotspots for the spread of measles, mumps and meningococcal disease. Close mixing in confined environments presents the perfect opportunity for infection to spread.

These illnesses can be very serious and lead to significant complications and even death. 

More information about these illnesses and what to do if you suspect you are ill can be found on the NHS website.

MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella)

The best protection against measles and mumps is to ensure that you have had two doses of the MMR vaccine. 

Some young people may have missed out as the MMR uptake was as low as 80% in 2003. Most cases of measles have been seen in young people over the age of 15.

The vaccine is free to anyone who has not received both doses as a child. 

Check with your GP to find out your vaccination status. If your vaccination status is incomplete, arrange your vaccination before you come to university. 

MMR advice and information is available on the NHS website.

MenACWY

This vaccine protects against meningitis (A, C, W and Y) and septicaemia (blood poisoning) which can both be fatal.

Young adults are particularly at risk as they are carriers of the aggressive W strain of the disease.

You may have had this injection at school in Year 9 or 10. This vaccine is a single injection.

If you have not had the vaccine: Students going to university for the first time, including overseas and mature students, who have not yet had the vaccine remain eligible up to their 25th birthday.

Contact your GP to have the MenACWY vaccine before coming to university.

MenACWY advice and information is available on the NHS website.

International Students

If you have not had these vaccines, you will be eligible for vaccination once you are in the UK. Make sure you register with a GP.

 Stay healthy: checklist

  1. Check your vaccination status with your GP.
  2. Get vaccinated, if necessary, before you come to university.
  3. Register with a local GP if you move to attend the University of Bedfordshire.
  4. Familiarise yourself with the symptoms of measles, mumps and meningitis and know what to do if you become ill.

Covid-19 Vaccines: How to Get Yours and What to Expect

University life is returning to ‘normal’ and we are all looking forward to our campuses being back with a buzz, with full lecture theatres, busy libraries and most importantly, open nightclubs!

With student life getting back to normal it is essential that everyone stays safe and protects themselves and each other as much as possible. The best way to protect yourself and those around you, and ensure that normal life can continue is to get vaccinated!

To support you in getting the Coronavirus vaccine, if you wish to do so, be it your first or second the University is opening walk-in vaccination centres from the 17th September.

Getting a vaccination at one of our walk in sites is easy, you don’t need to be registered with a GP or have booked a prior appointment, all you need is your NHS number.  If you are worried when you visit one of our vaccination centres, rest assured that we have vaccine ‘reassurers’ on hand to provide support and advice to anyone receiving their vaccine.

If you are worried about the vaccine because of any existing medical issues you feel could interfere with the vaccination, you should contact your GP for help and advice or phone 111.

If you would prefer to book an appointment rather than just walking in you can use the University’s booking service.  

Dates and times of our vaccinations centres are as follows:


Luton Campus (Ground floor at the Campus Centre near Careers and Innovations & Enterprise)
Saturday 18 September – 10am – 4pm
Monday 20 September – 10am – 4pm
Tuesday 21 September – 10am – 4pm
Monday 4 October – 10am – 4pm
Tuesday 5 October – 10am- 4pm

Bedford Campus (Ground floor at Campus Centre, outside the theatre)
Saturday 18 September – 10am – 4pm
Wednesday 22 September – 10am – 4pm
Thursday 23 September – 10am – 4pm
Wednesday 6 October – 10am – 4pm
Thursday 7 October – 10am – 4pm

Each vaccination station will have three tables set out with three chairs, and approximately 30 chairs to provide a ‘waiting area’.

Once you have received your vaccine you may be asked to wait for 15 minutes before leaving, so that medical staff can monitor any potential side effects.  For more information about the Covid-19 vaccine click here.

The facts

It’s normal to feel a little hesitant about any medical procedure, especially when needles are involved, but getting vaccinated is a quick, easy and a mostly-painless way to make sure that you are protected from Covid-19. 

Watch the video below for more information on what is in the Covid-19 vaccine and how it works.  

Vaccines have been a safe and effective way to combat disease for hundreds of years and have led to diseases like: Polio, Smallpox and Measles being eliminated in many regions of the world. Despite the effectiveness and safety of vaccines misinformation continues to spread, so here are the facts you need to know, directly from the NHS, about the Covid-19 vaccines you can receive in the UK.

  • Receiving a Covid-19 vaccine reduces your risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19
  • Covid-19 vaccines reduce your risk of catching or spreading Covid-19
  • The vaccines have undergone rigorous testing and have met the UK’s strict standards for safety, quality and effectiveness
  • Common side effects last a short amount of time and are nothing more serious than some soreness in your arm, possibly feeling tired, a headache or feeling generally Achy and ill. 
  • Major side effects are very rare and vaccination staff are trained to look out for any symptoms
  • A vaccine does not alter your DNA or cause any problems with fertility or pregnancy
  • The vaccines don’t contain any animal products and are suitable for people of all faiths. 

Covid-19 vaccines are currently available for:

  • everyone aged 16 or over
  • some children aged 12 to 15 who have a higher risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19 or who live with someone at high risk of catching it

Currently anyone under the age of 40 will usually be offered a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and you should have the same vaccine for both doses. 

If you are worried about the vaccine because of any existing medical issues you feel could interfere with the vaccination, you should contact your GP for help and advice or phone 111. 

Find out more about each vaccine

For more information about each vaccine you can read the NHS’s patient leaflets

  • Moderna – Fun fact the Moderna vaccine was part funded by Dolly Parton, so you could have the power of the Queen of Country in your veins. (Just don’t let Jolene know) 
  • AstraZeneca
  • Pfizer

Our very own Dr Chris Papadopoulos – Principal Lecturer in Public Health in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences urges that being hesitant about getting a vaccine is a greater danger than any side effect. He said: “Recent research by Imperial College London has estimated that vaccine hesitancy could lead to an additional 236 deaths per million population. This is far higher than the estimated 18 fatal cases of blood clots identified among 25 million Europeans who have had the jab.”

Other ways to get vaccinated

If you would like to get vaccinated but can’t attend one of our walk in centres that’s ok, there are a number of other ways to book your appointment.

Booking a vaccine appointment

To book a vaccine appointment visit the NHS booking service or phone 119, translators are available if needed. If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, or are a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can use textphone 18001 119 or the NHS 119 BSL interpreter service.

Walk in vaccination centres 

Alternatively you can find walk in vaccination sites, where you can get vaccinated at a time that suits you without a prior appointment. Perfect for if you have a few gaps in a busy schedule!

You don’t need any ID or be registered with a GP, although it may help to have your NHS number ready when you arrive. 

What to expect at the vaccination centre

Going to get your vaccine is a quick and easy, here’s what to expect when you go to get jabbed!

When you arrive at the vaccination centre you will be greeted by the vaccination staff and asked to wear a face covering (if not exempt) and then directed to a socially distanced queue, giving you plenty of time to think of a post vaccine snack you can reward yourself with (we went with our favourite chocolate bar). 

Once you have gotten to the front of the queue the centre staff will ask you for your name, NHS number and whether it’s your first or second dose before directing you onwards to wait until called for your vaccine. If you’re feeling anxious you can read through the vaccination booklet you receive or talk to the centre staff who will be able to answer questions and reassure you. 

Soon you will be called over and the person who is administering your vaccine will ask you some questions about your medical history and allergies. It’s important to mention if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction, if you’re pregnant or any medical information you feel may be important. 

You’ll then get your jab! Usually you are jabbed in your non-dominant arm and you will feel a quick sharp sensation from the needle. It takes no more than a couple of seconds for the vaccine to be injected, so you may not even feel a thing!

The hard part is over, and now you’re vaccinated. Congrats!

After you’ve been jabbed you will have to wait 15 minutes before you can leave. This is just so that the vaccination centre staff can make sure that you haven’t had a reaction and that you are feeling ok. After having the Covid-19 vaccine it’s normal that you may: feel soreness in your arm, feel tired, feel a headache or just generally feel achy and ill, this is all normal and expected, but even more of a reason to treat yourself to whatever post vaccine snack you were dreaming about in the queue.

For more information on Covid-19 vaccine side effects and safety, please visit the NHS website here. And remember, you can take painkillers such as paracetamol if you need to. If your symptoms get worse or you’re worried, call 111.

If you have a high temperature that lasts longer than two days, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you may have Covid-19. Stay at home and get a test.

You cannot catch Covid-19 from the vaccine, but you may have caught it just before or after your vaccination.

Testing

On arrival back at university, you should take two LFD tests (3-4 days apart) using home test kits (LFD Collect) and test twice a week thereafter.

You can pick up home Covid-19 Lateral Flow testing kits from our on-campus collection points:
Luton, The Print Shop based at 45 Park St, Luton LU1 3JX – 9am to 3pm
Bedford, Gateway – 9am to 3pm
Aylesbury Campus – students can collect kits from the library 

As well as picking up home testing kits on campus, you can also get tested within your local community: LutonBedfordMilton KeynesAylesburyLondon BridgeBirmingham or order home testing kits from the government website.

 If you have tested positive for Covid-19 you are legally required to self-isolate. You must also self-isolate if you have been contacted by NHS Track and Trace. From Monday 16 August, people fully vaccinated or under 18 will not need to self-isolate after close contact with someone who has Covid-19. You’ll still need to take a PCR test and self-isolate if it’s positive, or if you have symptoms. 

You must follow Government and NHS guidance. After you have completed a Covid-19 test you should report your test results via the government Covid-19 test reporting serivce. You should report every test you do regardless of whether it is positive or negative.  Students with a positive test result must inform our Advisors, whether you are on campus or at home, by emailing: returntocampus@beds.ac.uk For more information about what you should do if you test positive for Covid-19 click hereYou must stay away from campus if you are feeling unwell.

Health & Healthcare: Essential Information for All Students

Register with a local GP

If you have moved to a new town to study, you should register with a local GP as soon as possible, so you can access healthcare when you need it. Do not leave it until you feel unwell! 

You can find details of the nearest surgeries to campus on our website.

For those who live away from the above sites or if you prefer to register elsewhere, you can find a list of GP surgeries near to where you live on the NHS website.

You can now register online as a new patient with many GP surgeries. Look out for the ‘new patient’ or ‘reception and enquiries’ section on their website to get started.


Keeping yourself well

Freshers’ flu is real!

When you start University there are lots of factors that can add physical and psychological strain and impact your immune system. Although mingling with large groups of new people may not be such an issue this year, you may find that your diet changes, you might be lacking in sleep or feeling stressed which can all lead to freshers’ flu.

Although this isn’t an actual flu, you can end up feeling quite poorly.

Symptoms of freshers’ flu can include:

  • Feeling cold and shivering or hot with a fever
  • Dry cough
  • Having low energy

Our best tips on keeping healthy and avoiding freshers’ flu:

  • Eat healthily – there’s no time like the present to learn how to cook quick meals with fresh ingredients. Make sure to get loads of vitamins in to your diet to boost your immune system.
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids to keep hydrated – especially important if you are drinking alcohol!
  • Rest and refresh – make sure to have some down time from socialising and from your technology.
  • Look after your mental health – starting university and adapting to new surroundings and situations can be stressful. If you are finding things difficult, talk to someone or find a coping strategy that works for you.

Covid-19

It’s important to be aware of the Covid-19 symptoms and follow the latest NHS advice on isolating and testing if you think you may have it. The NHS 111 service can assist with any queries or concerns you may have.

You should follow the University’s advice and UK Government guidance to minimise spread of the disease and this will also help you to avoid catching a cold or flu during the winter months.

Make sure to tell your teaching staff if you are ill and cannot participate in activities. You can also get support from the Student Engagement Team if illness is affecting your ability to complete work on time.


Vaccinations: Are you University ready?

We would encourage you to check that all vaccinations and immunisations are up-to-date, specifically the Meningitis vaccination. Meningococcal disease is a rare but life threatening disease that occurs mainly in young children and young adults.

Because of Covid-19, it’s more important than ever to safeguard your health. Get vaccinated before you come to University.

Stay safe. Get Protected.

  • MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella)
  • MenACWY (Meningitis)
  • Flu jab (vulnerable groups and extended eligibility, check if you are entitled to a free jab!)

Your GP will have a record of your vaccinations. Check if you’re not sure what you’ve had.

More information about these vaccinations can be found on the NHS website.


Students coming from overseas

If you are joining the University from another country, you might want to find out more about the NHS (National Health Service) and how to access different types of health care.

UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) has some helpful advice.