One of the questions we at STRIVE get asked most frequently is, "aren't I required to get vaccinated in order to go to university?", and the answer is a resounding no, you are not. The UK government 'recommends' you get certain vaccines, but that is all it is, a recommendation - there is no legal mandate for you to have received any vaccine in order to attend university. Health workers, schools and parents are often misinformed on this issue and will advise you certain vaccines are essential to go to university - but this is not true. No vaccine is compulsory in the UK.
What about health-related courses like nursing and medicine?
Although overall you are not required to receive vaccines in order to attend university, there are some specific courses which often do require them. These may include: Nursing, Midwifery, Paramedics, ODP, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Social Work. If you are committed to a career in one of these fields, it may be difficult or impossible for you to proceed without receiving the required vaccinations. We hope the information provided on STRIVE will help you to make an informed choice. One of the vaccines most frequently required for health care students is Hep B.
If you decide you do not want to receive specific vaccinations but still want to pursue a career in health, you could consider courses that do not have vaccination requirements such as psychotherapy or nutrition.
There are also an increasing array of career paths that don't require a university degree, so you may want to look into other options such as alternative health or apprenticeships.
What about college trips or semesters abroad?
It depends on where you're going. Some countries require you to have an International Certificate of
Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) before you enter.
Many tropical countries in Africa and South America won't accept travellers from an area where there's yellow fever unless they can prove they've been vaccinated against it. You can find out which vaccines are necessary or merely 'recommended' for the country you're travelling to here: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations.aspx
Vaccine requirements for study abroad vary from institution to institution. Contact the university or college you wish to study at directly to find out what their policy is. Some require vaccinations and/or boosters, but some will accept a blood test result showing you have antibodies to the disease in lieu, They may not state this overtly, so you may have to ask directly if a blood test showing antibodies is an acceptable substitute for receiving additional vaccinations. Our director at STRIVE studied in the USA, and was able to submit a blood test result showing antibodies to the measles virus, rather than receive an additional measles vaccination as the college was asking her to do.