Before you start a degree in medicine, you need to have a number of vaccinations and you need to meet certain health requirements. The health requirements for different universities may vary, so it is important to check with the medical schools you are applying to.

Be prepared

It is important to keep a record of when you have vaccinations so that you can submit it to your medical school if they request it. A good idea is to take a form to your GP and ask them to fill in the dates of old vaccinations, add in the new ones and sign the form. That way you will have a hard copy of your immunisation history. Make sure you make a photocopy of this once it is complete. We have created an example form to take to your GP or nurse. The immunisations you are likely to need are covered below.

Hepatitis B

You will need at least 3 doses of this vaccine. You take the first dose and then the second dose one month later. You then have the third dose 5 months after that. You then need a test to make sure the vaccine has worked. The Hep B vaccine should be carried out by the occupational health department at your medical school. Students are no longer required to be immunised against hepatitis before they start their course.

Other vaccinations

You may also need to be vaccinated against other diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis, diptheria, tetanus, polio, meningitis and Haemophilus influenza B. You will probably have had most of these vaccinations when you were younger, and most of them will only require a single injection if you do need to have it. Your GP should have a record of all your past immunisations. Check with your medical school to find out which vaccinations you need.

Health screening

Every medical school requires new students to undertake health screening via their Occupational Health department. Health screening ensures that students have had the appropriate vaccinations and screens new students for contagious diseases (on a voluntary basis).

Students are required to have tests for HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Tuberculosis before they receive clearance to perform ‘Exposure Prone Procedures’ (EPPs). EPPs are basically activities that carry a relatively high risk for infection, such as surgical procedures. If you are found to be positive for one of these diseases, you will not be able to perform EPPs until you are no longer infected.

Students will not be asked to undertake screening until they have been offered a place at medical school. Students who test positive for HIV, Hep B, Hep C or TB will be able to complete their studies and can still train as a doctor. However, such students may be more limited in their choice of medical specialty and the types of procedures they can perform.

For more information, visit the Medical Schools Council website or see their guidance on Health Clearance for Medical and Dental Students. Please note that this document was updated in 2014 and supersedes the advice given in the 2008 revision.