Student and Staff Wellbeing

Immunisation Guidelines

Immunisation Guidelines for Students of Non-Clinical Degrees

Risks

There are three potentially serious laboratory acquired infections in which the risk of infection and serious illness can be reduced by immunisation. These are Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A and Tetanus.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is transmitted most commonly as a result of blood to blood contact including injury with contaminated instruments. Transmission has also rarely followed bites from infected persons. The severity of the disease ranges from infections which can only be detected by laboratory tests to fatal cases.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is transmitted by the faecal-oral route. Spread is most common through contaminated food or drink. Hepatitis A in healthcare workers has occasionally been seen in residential institutions for the mentally handicapped. Workers involved in sewage treatment facilities are also potentially at risk. The disease is generally mild and unlike Hepatitis B there is no chronic carrier state and no likelihood of chronic liver damage. However, the acute disease can be debilitating in some adults and occasional cases of fulminating Hepatitis A have been recorded.

Tetanus

Tetanus is a serious life-threatening condition caused by the toxin produced by Clostridium tetani. The organism is principally found in soil, animal faeces and dust (it has been isolated from carpets) and must be considered a possible contaminant in any dirty wound. The spore forming ability of the organism means that it will survive indefinitely in samples unless they are specifically inactivated. Transmission is via skin wounds and is believed to have been imperceptible in some cases. 

 

Recommendations

Some students on non-clinical programmes of study may be exposed to potentially infected body fluids (principally blood) or tissues. These students should obtain Hepatitis B immunisation, at least six months before the work is due to commence. In cases where such students do not wish to be immunised, even after being appraised of the risks involved, serious consideration should be given to changing the nature of the project that the student is to undertake in order to remove the risk of exposure to the virus.

The number of students in the University at risk from Hepatitis A as a result of their studies is likely to be very small. There are some groups, however, who are at risk and these include engineering students whose course work entails a secondment to sewage treatment works. It is recommended that all such students be immunised.

 

Procedures

Student Progress compiles and maintains a list of modules for which immunisation is required.

Before Student Registration at the beginning of each academic year, Student Progress will write to the module leaders to ask to ensure that Immunisation Forms are completed for every student due to undertake the module in the following academic year and to those in the current academic year.

The forms will require students to obtain the immunisation needed or sign a disclaimer after being appraised of the risks. On receiving the completed forms back from the students, module leaders will be asked to provide Student Progress with a list of students requiring immunisation.

Student Progress will write to all students who require immunisation to advise them that it would be preferable for them to obtain it from their own doctor (who will have their medical records), but to let them know when they may attend the Saville Medical Practice if they would prefer to undertake the course of immunisation there (whether or not they are registered with the Saville). All students contacted will be advised to obtain confirmation that the course of immunisation has been completed.

It is recommended that schools seek confirmation from students before they start the module or relevant project that they have received the appropriate course of immunisation so that the school has evidence or a signed disclaimer in respect of every student undertaking the module.