In college or starting college – are you fully vaccinated?

If you are in college or starting college this year, you should check to see if you are fully vaccinated.

MMR vaccine

Many young people have not had two doses of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine so are at risk of these diseases.

Measles

Measles cases continue to increase in a number of EU/EEA countries. In the first three months of 2018, 18,329 measles cases have been reported in the WHO European Region including 23 measles related deaths. The highest number of cases to date in 2018 are in Greece France Ukraine and Serbia.

In Ireland there has also been a large increase in cases of measles in 2018. The majority of confirmed cases were not vaccinated or incompletely vaccinated.

Mumps

There were 317 mumps cases in Ireland in 2017. Most of the cases are in young adults under 35.

Mumps can cause meningitis, deafness and inflammation of the pancreas or testicles. Measles can cause encephalitis (swelling of the brain) ear infections and pneumonia.

Vaccination with MMR vaccine is the only way to protect against these diseases.

In Ireland the first MMR dose is given by GPs at 12 months of age, and the second dose at 4-5 years of age is usually given at school by HSE vaccination teams.

If you have not had (or are not sure if you have had) two doses of MMR vaccine you should contact your GP to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

What about Student Health Care Workers?

Health Care Workers (HCWs) in Ireland should have 2 doses of MMR vaccine. Two of the cases in last year’s outbreak in Ireland were HCWs.

MenC vaccine

There has been an increase in meningococcal C (MenC) disease in Ireland since 2013

  • 60 cases have occurred since 2013
  • 20 cases have been reported in 2017

Men C disease is a serious contagious illness.

If you have come to college from another country you should check to see if you have had MenC (meningococcal C) vaccine.

MenC can cause meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning). Vaccination with MenC vaccine is the only way to protect against this disease.

In Ireland MenC vaccine is given by GPs at 6 and 13 months of age and a 3rd dose is given by HSE school teams to 1st years in second level schools but MenC vaccine is not given routinely in many countries.

If you have not had MenC vaccine and are under 23 years of age, you should contact your GP to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Further information on MMR and MenC vaccines and the diseases they protect against can be found on

This page was added on 16 July 2018