UC schools require students to receive measles vaccine starting in 2017

February 6, 2015
In this Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 photo, pediatrician Charles Goodman holds a dose of the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine at his practice in Northridge, Calif. The vaccine is 99 percent effective at preventing measles, which spreads easily through the air and in enclosed spaces. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

In this Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 photo, pediatrician Charles Goodman holds a dose of the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine at his practice in Northridge, Calif. The vaccine is 99 percent effective at preventing measles, which spreads easily through the air and in enclosed spaces. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Incoming students at UCLA, UC Irvine and other University of California campuses across the state will be required to be immunized against measles and other diseases beginning in 2017, the university system announced today.

The system’s existing policy requires only vaccination against hepatitis B, although some individual campuses have additional requirements.

The new policy will require incoming students to be screened for tuberculosis and be vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, meningococcus, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.

“I’m really excited that there’s support and momentum for this new immunization plan,” Dr. Gina Fleming, medical director for the UC Student Health Insurance Plan, said. “We know that these preventive measures are effective.”

Under the plan, incoming students this fall will be notified of recommended vaccines and the plan to make them mandatory. In fall 2016, students will be “expected” to have required vaccines, but the requirement will not be enforced until the following year.

When the policy takes effect in 2017, students who do not have proof of vaccinations will have their registration put on hold.

The policy, however, will allow exemptions for medical or religious purposes. UC officials said they will be working in the coming months to develop guidelines for handling such requests.

“We need to be mindful of the population we’re serving,” Fleming said.

Nearly 100 cases of measles have been confirmed across California in an outbreak that began in December. More than one-third of the patients visited Disneyland in December.

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