RIVERSIDE (CNS) - Incoming students at UC Riverside 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.