Incoming students for the 2015 schoolyear will be required to have vaccinations for measles and other diseases, Ohio State University’s Columbus campus announced on Friday.
Only not really, because students can still make exemptions on “religious, medical or philosophical grounds,” Reuters reported. Still, at least OSU is trying. And it’s just the lastest school system to make vaccinations front and center: the University of California system announced in early February that beginning in 2017, incoming students must be vaccinated against hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcus, tetanus, and whooping cough. Presently, UC students are only required to be vaccinated against hep B. (Some parents — anti-vaxxers — choose not to vaccinate their children out of fear the shots actually hurt their child’s health; others are unable to vaccinate due to lack of access to healthcare.)
Clearly these colleges are reacting to the recent outbreaks of preventable diseases on campuses, where young adults live and study in close proximity to each other (and sometimes not in the cleanest of conditions). Last month, a student at Princeton University was suspected of having measles; a community college student in Illinois attended classes and visited the school library before being diagnosed with measles. Other infected students this winter include cases at Bard College in New York; University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; and California State University at Channel Islands.
But the root problem in prevention may not be with individual schools but with confusing government regulations pertaining to vaccinating. According to Inside Higher Ed, there are no uniform guidelines when it comes to vaccinations, so s It is up to individuals states to set the laws on vaccinations (you can find out more about individual state laws here, as well as exemptions by state). The government’s official information page on vaccines only says that college students ages 19 to 24 should be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis, whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria, HPV and the flu.