As the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to report more measles infections, the University of California is taking a strong stance on immunization.
The university system will require incoming students to undergo screening for tuberculosis and get vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, meningococcus, tetanus, and whooping cough, according to a UC statement.
This 3-phase plan will officially take effect in 2017, though students entering UC in the fall 2015 semester will receive a letter about recommended vaccines and when they will become mandatory. The next year, students will be expected to get the vaccinations, but the requirements will not be enforced until 2017, when students who are not vaccinated will have a hold put on their registration. In other words, students will not be able to register for classes unless they are vaccinated.
Currently, incoming UC students only have to be vaccinated for hepatitis B, although some campuses have additional health requirements, according to the statement. Some students can obtain an exemption for medical or religious purposes. Over the next few months, school officials will decide exactly how to handle exemption requests for other reasons.
UC noted that the idea to require students to get more immunizations has been in the works for a year.
“But the need is more pressing than ever, given the current multistate measles outbreak and the re-emergence of other vaccine-preventable diseases among those not completely immunized,” the UC statement said.
On February 9, 2015, the CDC reported that the number of measles infections has reached 121 cases across 17 states and the District of Columbia, and 85% of those infections have been tied to the outbreak that began at Disneyland in California.
In the future, UC may consider adding other vaccinations, such as meningococcus B, or preventive care immunizations.