Proof of the following immunizations are REQUIRED prior to your arrival on campus:
- 2 MMRs (Measles, Mumps, and Ruebella all in one vaccine),
- TDAP (Tetanus, Diptheria, and acellular Pertusis) within the past 5 years (TD [regular Tentanus shot] not accepted), and
- Meningitis (2 meningococcal vaccines (MCV4 or MPSV4) lifetime OR 1 vaccine is acceptable if given in the last 5 years).
- 2 Varicella vaccines (at least 4 weeks apart).
Immunizations must be:
- entered manually entered on the student health portal AND
- a COPY OF YOUR IMMUNIZATION RECORD from your doctor's office must be uploaded for validation.
Records will only be accepted in English
Immunizations and Vaccines are shots or medication that you take to prevent getting sick with certain diseases. Having vaccines can save your life, and keep you from getting sick. Having vaccines can also save you time and money in the long run in preventing illness, loss time of work/school, and medical bills.
Messiah’s requirement is to have a Tdap within the last five years. Messiah University takes the health of our students and our campus community very seriously. Because of the close proximity of student living, college campuses often spread contagious diseases very quickly. During this time when our country is struggling with serious disease outbreaks, we are all the more vigilant.
The reason that we have a requirement for a Tdap every five years instead of every ten is for a number of reasons:
Studies have shown that the pertussis portion of the Tdap wanes over time. So students who have had a Tdap 8-10 years ago are actually not very well protected against pertussis. (Taken directly from the CDCs website: CDC’s current estimate is that in the first year after getting vaccinated with Tdap, it protects about 7 out of 10 people who receive it. There is a decrease in effectiveness in each following year. About 3 or 4 out of 10 people are fully protected 4 years after getting Tdap.)
- The current pediatric immunization guidelines have patients receiving the initial Tdap booster at age 10-11 in their primary care or pediatrician’s office. Ten years later, at age 20 or 21, they are right here on campus. Very few 20-21 year olds are proactive in getting their immunizations up to date. They have a lot of other important things on their minds. This puts them at an increased risk for pertussis and increases our campus community’s risk during their junior/senior year. As you can imagine, it’s a terrible time to get sick.
- For several years, we tried a “recall program” where we have attempted to call in students who were at the 10 year mark and due for a booster. It’s never been effective. Again, they have had other things on their minds and they probably didn’t see the vaccine as a priority or a necessity. By making it a requirement at the start of college, it’s not something students have to sorry about later.
- The Tdap vaccine is given to women with every pregnancy (so in some cases is given only 1-2 years apart), so its safety in repeat dosing has been proven. It has been approved by the FDA for repeat (booster) vaccination earlier than every 10 years.
- As I’m sure you can imagine, the college campus community is more prone to communicable disease than a typical community because of the close quarters and the lifestyle of the college aged student. Additionally, more and more Americans are choosing to be unvaccinated, which lowers overall herd immunity. Finally, we have a large population of students who travel abroad as well as a large percentage of international students. All of this increases communicable disease risk.
- Pertussis is very contagious and a student with pertussis may be isolated or removed from campus.
- Cumberland County has an outbreak of pertussis every winter.
Our vaccine policy is conservative but has been put in place in an effort to keep our students and our community safe and healthy. We would much rather be proactive/preventative than have you be ill and potentially miss weeks of school.