Uptake of a new meningitis vaccination programme amongst first-year undergraduate students in the United Kingdom: A cross-sectional study

Sarah Blagden*, Daniel Seddon, Daniel Hungerford, Debbi Stanistreet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In 2015 meningococcal group W was declared endemic in the UK, with the meningococcal ACWY vaccination (MenACWY) subsequently introduced amongst adolescents and first-year university students. This study aimed to determine MenACWY uptake amongst students and to evaluate how this was influenced by demographics and via the Health Belief Model (HBM). Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted at a British university amongst first-year undergraduate students aged 18–25 years. Data collection was via an electronic questionnaire encompassing demographics, the HBM and vaccination status. Univariable analysis of the associations between demographics, health beliefs and vaccination was performed, followed by multiple logistic regression. Results: 401 participants were included in analysis. Vaccine uptake was 68.1%. Variables independently associated with vaccination upon multiple regression were age, gap-year, perceived effectiveness of the vaccine and knowledge about risk of meningitis. Compared to 18 year-olds, the odds of vaccination were reduced for 19 year-olds (aOR = 0.087, 95% CI = 0.010–0.729), 20 year-olds (aOR = 0.019, 95% CI = 0.002–0.161) and 21–25 year-olds (aOR = 0.003, 95% CI = <0.001–0.027). In contrast, taking a gap year (aOR = 2.939, 95% CI = 1.329–6.501), higher perceived vaccine effectiveness (aOR = 3.555, 95% CI = 1.787–7.073) and knowledge about meningitis risk (aOR = 2.481, 95% CI = 1.165–5.287) were independently associated with increased uptake. Conclusions: MenACWY uptake amongst students in this study and in other sources is above the national coverage for all adolescents (35.3%), indicating that this vaccination programme may be increasing health inequalities. Older students are less likely to become vaccinated due to differing vaccination policy in this age-group. In future, strategies that focus on specific student cohorts and that highlight vaccine effectiveness and the risk of meningitis should be considered. National evaluation of this vaccination programme is recommended to clarify its impact on health inequalities.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0181817
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Blagden et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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