Med+Proctor Immunization Blog

Student government approves immunization program

Implementation of a student immunization policy may begin at the University of Cincinnati as early as 2017 thanks to a Wednesday 26-0-0 vote by Student Government. Students will be required under the new policy to be vaccinated for Measles, Varicella, Tetanus, Hepatitis and Polio, and will need to fill out a Tuberculosis screening questionnaire. The American College Health Association strongly recommends the use of vaccines to protect individual students and campus communities. There are currently no immunization requirements for incoming students except for those studying health professions. Exemptions will be made for religious and medical reasons, but will only be approved with the signature of a clergyman or a medical examiner respectively. Exempt students must sign a waiver and will be required to leave campus if there is an outbreak of a disease they are not vaccinated for, said SG Vice President Andrew Griggs. Vaccinations will not be more extensive than those already required by Ohio schools K-12, and the required dosages and vaccination schedules will comply with the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Once the process has been finalized by UC administration, the plan will come in three phases, according to Alice Mills of the University of Cincinnati Health Services (UCHS). Phase one will introduce a vaccine education plan on UC’s campus. Phase two will require incoming students to be vaccinated by the second semester, starting in the fall of 2017. By the fall of 2018, vaccinations will be required for all campuses. The required vaccinations will be offered at UCHS by fall 2017 for students who wish for vaccinations on campus. Students who do not comply with vaccination requirements will not be allowed to register for their second semester. The proposed immunization policy is not retroactive — students attending UC before fall 2017 will not be required to be vaccinated. “Many universities across the country have instituted policies like this,” Mills said.“ Most recently the Ohio State University and the ten-school system of the University of California is about to institute something similar.” “UC Health is striving for herd protection,” said Glenn Egleman of UCHS. Herd protection is the concept that if you have a herd of cattle, and you immunize 95 percent of them, you essentially protect the remaining population, reducing vulnerability and stopping additional spread of the disease. “UC has not quite reached this level due to a fair amount of international students and even U.S. states with more lenient immunization policy,” said Egleman. Students are currently not required to comply with vaccinations before arriving on campus for purely logistical reasons. “There is just no way to ensure that all incoming students will have their vaccinations before the first day,” said Egleman. UCHS now accepts most forms of private health insurance, with the notable exception of Humana. UCHS previously only accepted the UC student health insurance plan, which made all necessary vaccinations both logistically and financially impossible, Egleman said. In 2014, there were 23 outbreaks of measles for a total of 644 cases across the US, says Mill. In other news, the student body debated giving voting rights to first-semester, first-year students. Some senators felt that giving votes to first years would be detrimental to the integrity of committees. “If you have not been here an entire semester, you should not be able to vote”, said At-Large Senator Jackie Mulay. Others thought they should have a voice. “These decisions impact them,” said At- Large Senator Elysse Winget. “I haven’t lived in a residence hall or had a meal plan in years — I don’t know what its like anymore.” Source: Student government approves immunization program

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