immunization

U.S. National Library of Medicine

Incoming freshmen college students would be required to get immunizations and vaccines before starting classes under a bill passed Thursday by a Kentucky House committee.

Some universities require immunizations for incoming freshmen, but only if the student will live in a dorm. The measure would require all students, even those living off campus, to be immunized.

Patty Swiney, former president of the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians, said the bill is designed to target meningitis, and students who attended private school or were home schooled.

Students attending public school have to be immunized before Kindergarten, 6th grade and the 11th grade for not only meningitis, but the measles, mumps and other illnesses.

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New students will soon be starting college, and at some Kentucky colleges, that means getting vaccinated. The Kentucky Immunization Coalition — a public private partnership — launched a campaign Monday to convince students and parents that not doing so puts the entire student population at risk for an outbreak.

Three universities in the state require immunizations: The University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University and the University of Louisville. Tracy Kielman, director of the Kentucky Immunization Coalition, says although elementary through high school students in Kentucky are required to be vaccinated, that does not extend to college.

“Hopefully this will push them to do it on their own,” Kielman says.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

State Health Officials in the Commonwealth are calling on parents to take steps to be certain their children have been immunized for a variety of diseases. This is National Immunization Awareness Month, and State Epidemiologist Kraig Humbaugh says its important not to become complacent about the issue.