Students required to update immunization records


Frannie Mendoza

The Student Health Services is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Amina Murati, Writer

Student Health Services wants to get the attention of the student body regarding vaccination. The Independent previously covered what students need to know when it comes to their immunization records. Nurse Jennifer Lasko explained the importance of administering vaccinations to public university students and why the state requires certain vaccinations. The Student Health Services website, which can be found through NEIU’s website, offers a list of the vaccinations students are required to receive. 

While certain positions do not require employees to get vaccinated, vaccinations are required by law for students of all ages. “The reason why we have required vaccinations is because we have a lot of exposure in classrooms, and now more with residence hall,” Lasko said in regards to the 7,000 students on campus. “With close contact, you have a greater chance of catching a virus, bacteria or a disease,” she added. Lasko also mentioned how uniformity in vaccinations can help prevent outbreaks.

Although it is highly recommended that everyone gets vaccinated, there are exemptions allowing certain students to forego vaccination. Lasko explained how students who have allergies to any vaccinations are exempt from receiving the vaccine in question. “The student needs to include a doctor’s note as proof,” added Lasko.

Another exemption would be on religious grounds, where Lasko explained, “You don’t have to belong to a specific affiliation, but a personal preference is not considered a religious exemption.” 

Lasko added that students can print out the religious exemption form from the NEIU website. The form reads, “The objection must set forth the specific religious belief that conflicts with the immunization. The religious objection may be personal and need not be directed by the tenets of an established religious organization. General philosophical or moral reluctance to allow immunizations will not provide a sufficient basis for an exception to statutory requirements.” This standard requires the student to explain his or her religious beliefs and sign an agreement stating that they object to getting the vaccination(s). 

However, international and transfer students are subject to stricter standards. “International and transfer students need to also have a negative tuberculosis test,” stated Lasko. The website explains how these students can get their TB test done on campus by appointment. 

 Lasko listed the required vaccinations for all public university students:

  • All students are required to have a current Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap), where the student’s most recent booster is within the last ten years.
  • A minimum of 2 doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) (typically given at a younger age).

For those students who are older and cannot access their vaccination history, they can do an MMR titer. “A titer is a blood test that can determine whether or not you have immunity to all three of those diseases,” said Lasko. She added that if the person shows immunity from those diseases through a blood test, they will not need to provide any proof that they received the vaccines in question. If a student is not immune, they will be asked to get a booster.

Student Health Services always have their door open to students who wish to check if their vaccinations are up to date. “The best advice I could give to students is to definitely come to our office and speak with a nurse because we are able to give them everything they need to be compliant, including vaccines and the titer.” Lasko also mentioned how the nurses are patient, understanding and trained to work with those who have a fear of needles. This way, all students will feel safe and comfortable. 

Immunization Day took place on Jan. 21, by Student Health Services, where students were able to take advantage of getting their vaccines for a cheaper price than what the school already has to offer. Other vaccine tests, such as the MMR vaccine test, were free. Although this event already took place, Lasko mentioned, “depending on how successful Immunization Day is, and how many students show up, we might have another one.” Immunization Day is a convenient way to comply with the university’s vaccination requirements.

Student Health Services is located at E-051 or students can call 773-442-5800 for questions and schedule appointments there, as well as online on the website.