Now that A-level results have been sorted, many young people are excited about the next steps into the big wide world… leaving their Pembrokeshire homes for college or university

But many parents are unaware that the student environment is the perfect breeding ground for diseases such as meningitis, as large groups of people start to cohabit and mix for the first time - some of whom will unknowingly be carrying the bug that causes this disease.

Meningitis is a killer – and too many first-time students are falling prey to this terrible disease because they have not been received the vaccination against MenACWY at school – in fact up to half a million people aged up to the age of 25 may have missed this important jab.

Added to this there is only a very limited number who have been vaccinated against MenB - a strain that causes most cases of bacterial meningitis in the UK, says a spokeperson for Meningitis Now, the UK charity offering support and research into the complex disease.

This is further exacerbated by the fact that up to a quarter of 15 to 24-year-olds carry meningococcal bacteria in the back of their throats, generally without displaying an symptoms, compared to one in 10 of the general population.

Meningitis Now and health professionals across the country are advising parents and teenagers to make sure all vaccinations are up to date before the new term starts.

A Public Health Wales spokesperson said: “Immunisation programmes prevent avoidable GP appointments and hospital admissions because of vaccine-preventable diseases. Keeping young people protected is especially important during our response to Covid-19.

“For a two week period from September 1-14, we are running a social media campaign across Public Health Wales channels encouraging young people under the age of 25 to check that they are up to date with their MenACWY and MMR vaccinations.

“Meningitis and measles can be very serious. Those aged 18-24 years should make sure they are protected with all their routine immunisations, especially if they are going on to further education this autumn.”