UC schools to require immunizations

Graduate Division

In the wake of the recent measles outbreak around the country, UC has issued a statement that they will require incoming students to be vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, meningococcus, tetanus and whooping cough starting in 2017, in addition to the currently required hepatitis B vaccine.

Measles, once declared eliminated, had a record number of cases in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This increase resulted from decreased vaccination rates, as low as 36 percent in some California pre-schools according to the Los Angeles Times.

Measles vaccination rates decreased largely due to a 1998 retracted publication linking vaccinations with autism.

Vaccinations promote public health by creating herd immunity, where the majority vaccinated population shields the young, immuno-compromised, or old who are unable to receive the vaccine. As UCSF and Gladstone virologist J.J. Miranda said, “It’s one of those things where some people opting out will do damage even if everyone else opts in.”

Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein asserted their support of vaccination policies, asking California’s Health and Human Secretary to reconsider the state’s current exemptions. These exemptions allow parents to circumvent required school vaccinations on personal or religious grounds. The senators stated, “There should be no such thing as a philosophical or personal belief exemption, since everyone uses public spaces.”

Their statement was released just a week before health officials issued a report that BART riders may have been exposed to the measles virus by an infected worker during their commute. Officials have said that the risk of infection is low and vaccinated individuals should not be concerned, but anyone exhibiting the characteristic rash and possible flu-like symptoms should see a doctor.

For more information on measles, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html.