Capitol Alert

UC will require four additional vaccines for incoming students by 2017

A student at Huntington Park High School gets a whooping cough shot.
A student at Huntington Park High School gets a whooping cough shot. Los Angeles Times

By 2017, incoming students at the University of California will need four more vaccinations, including those for measles and chicken pox, under a new rule announced Friday by the university.

Currently, the UC system requires only the vaccine for hepatitis B. The new plan, which has been in development for about a year, would add a screening for tuberculosis and shots for measles, mumps and rubella, meningitis, chicken pox, and tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.

All incoming students will be required to have the additional vaccines starting in fall 2016, and enforcement will begin in fall 2017, when students who have not been vaccinated will have their registration put on hold, though the university will allow for medical and religious exemptions.

UC spokeswoman Shelly Meron said the university does not keep data on the number of students who do not already have these vaccinations.

The policy goes further than a 2002 executive order in the California State University system requiring students to get vaccinated for measles, rubella, hepatitis B and meningitis before enrolling. CSU also allows for exemptions based on medical considerations and religious or personal beliefs.

UC’s announcement comes amid debate over immunization. Recent outbreaks of whooping cough and measles, long thought eradicated, led to the introduction this week of a bill in the Legislature that would remove the state’s personal-belief exemption, and another in Congress that would require vaccinations for children in Head Start preschools nationwide.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson also released a statement Friday urging parents of California students to vaccinate their children and “avoid crippling, debilitating, and costly diseases.”

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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