(Photograph) - The Department of Health is taking steps to ensure that all first-year university students are vaccinated against meningitis before they start studies this autumn, writes Madeleine Coorey. For the first time, almost 250,000 first-year students will be given information on meningitis along with their Universities and Colleges Admissions Service information at the end of the month. Immunisation will not be compulsory, but all students will have the opportunity to get the vaccine. A DoH spokeswoman said the warning tells students to get the vaccination from their GP before they start their studies. She said: "The advice is to have the jab before you go up. For some reason, the first term of the first year does seem to be a vulnerable time." The department will also write to the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals and the Standing Conference of Principals asking for their cooperation in the campaign. Photograph: Newsteam.