BERKELEY (CBS SF) – The University of California system announced Friday that it would soon require incoming students to receive vaccinations for measles and several other diseases, starting in 2017.
In a statement from the UC system, officials said the plan has been in the works for a year. The proposal received new urgency amid a measles outbreak that started at Disneyland last December.
“We know that these preventive measures are effective,” said Dr. Gina Fleming of the UC Student Health Insurance Plan.
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Under the new requirements, students must be vaccinated for measles, along with rubella, chicken pox, meningococcus, tetanus and whooping cough. Students must also undergo a tuberculosis screening.
Currently, UC students are only required to have the hepatitis B vaccine, while some campuses have additional requirements.
While the plan will be phased in over three years, UC officials said it does not stop campuses from setting their own immunization standards or implementing the plan before 2017. Once the requirement is in effect, students without their shots will have their registration put on hold.
As of Friday, 103 Californians have contracted the measles virus, according to the California Department of Public Health. Fourteen of the cases are in the Bay Area.
Many people wonder how a disease that was considered eradicated in the U.S. 15 years ago is a renewed threat to public health.
It’s reignited the debate behind the anti-vaxxer movement fueled by parents’ skepticism about the safety and usefulness of vaccines.
The hysteria is largely attributed to now unlicensed British doctor Andrew Wakefield and a now debunked study published in 1998 claiming the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine could lead to the onset of autism.
The study of only 12 children was retracted as fraudulent and Wakefield lost his medical license, but the concept became stuck in the public psyche.
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CA Public Health Tracking
Here’s a timeline of the rise and fall of measles outbreaks and the role the anti-vaccine movement plays: