No state mandated immunization requirements for higher education institutions

The Investigators

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)– The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has confirmed seven cases of the mumps on College of Charleston’s campus.

Since the outbreak, college and health officials have urged students to get vaccinated.

“If you have never received the MMR vaccine, the recommendation is to receive the full two-dose MMR series. For those who have not received the MMR vaccine, please visit a local pharmacy, urgent care facility or primary care physician.” 

Mark Berry, College of Charleston Marketing and Communication

According to the College of Charleston’s Immunization Compliance Policy, the MMR vaccine is required for all students barring religious exemption.

State law establishes vaccine requirements for school children in daycare, public, and private schools but, unlike North Carolina, the mandates do not include higher education institutions. Instead, each college and university in the state sets its own policy for immunization.

MUSC Pediatrician Sandra Fowler M.D. said lack of uniformity is concerning especially when taking into account out of state students.

“They should have something in place to deal with the different variety of types of immunization people come to school with,” said Fowler.

Some states, like Vermont, have more lenient laws regarding school vaccination exemptions.

“When people come to college they may or may not come from a state with high level of requirements for vaccines,” said Fowler.

South Carolina has seen almost double the number of religious exemptions in school children K-12 since the 2014-2015 school year.

Several state schools said they use the American College Health Association recommendations to create their policy.

“Institutions of higher education have a responsibility to do whatever is possible to support a safe and healthy learning environment. Not all infectious diseases are preventable; however, immunizations are the best defense for some diseases that can be very disruptive to the campus community.”

American College Health Association

State School Immunization Policies:

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