How Aggressive are Your Student’s College Vaccination Policies?
By Michelle Goldstein
University policies on vaccination requirements vary greatly. When preparing to send your child to college, it is wise to investigate your university’s vaccine regulations in order to be best prepared. For those parents who want to limit or avoid vaccinations, arming oneself with this knowledge can prove to be especially important.
University vaccine policies are influenced by state laws and recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recommends the meningococcal (meningitis) vaccination for all incoming freshmen students living in residence halls. 
The vast majority of states have passed legislation mandating that college students at least receive education on the importance of receiving the meningitis vaccination. Thirty-seven out of 50 states have passed laws requiring education related to the meningitis vaccination for university students. Twenty-one states require proof of vaccination or exemption for the vaccine. The specific requirements for the meningitis vaccination vary by state. 
Universities are free to design their own individualized health policies regarding vaccinations, but most follow the CDC recommendations and all follow state guidelines. Required vaccinations include Tdap, HPV (Gardasil), hepatitis A and B, measles, MMR, chicken pox, and polio. Many colleges recommend annual flu vaccinations. [3,4,5,6,7]
Some universities have stated policies that allow the university to ban unvaccinated students from living in residence halls or attending class, if there is a disease outbreak on campus. [8,9] Others will not admit students to the university who do not meet the school’s requirements for vaccinations. 
Absence of Religious or Personal Exemptions on College Campuses
In a small random search of vaccination policies on college campuses, one university was found which appears to allow no exemptions for the measles vaccination other than a documented positive measles titer. This policy applies to the University of Washington for undergraduate students wanting to be admitted to the school. Their health science program, which mandates several vaccinations for prospective students, allows strict medical exemptions and possible very limited personal exemptions. This could pose a serious problem for a student not wanting to get vaccinated. This was not an exhaustive search, but it is very likely that other colleges carry similar policies.
This is the stated policy for students in the health science program at the University of Washington in Seattle:
What is the waiver process? I don’t want to (or can’t) receive one of the required vaccines.
Our waiver procedure is detailed in the “Requirements for Compliance” Policy posted on our website. HSIP grants waivers only for documented medical conditions for which there is a vaccine contraindication, based on the standards of care at the University of Washington.
Students must submit a signed statement from a medical doctor (MD) stating what vaccine is contraindicated, the reasons with documentation for the contraindication, and the duration for which the vaccine is contraindicated. The HSIP medical director will review and determine if the standard for medical contraindication is valid, and the student will be notified. If the standards are not met, the student will need to comply with the requirements.
If the standards are met, the student and school/program are notified. Students may be limited in clinical sites/situations where they can be placed with a waiver but if possible, the school/program accommodates the student based on their particular need.
Waivers for non-medical (personal) reasons are outside the scope of HSIP. In general, most schools/programs do not allow personal waivers. However, students who wish to discuss personal waivers of certain requirements should speak with the compliance officer or contact person for their particular health sciences school/program. Each school/program has different policies in place and may or may not allow the waiver of a specific requirement. 
Potential Risk of School Failure for Non-vaccinated College Students
Should there be a disease outbreak on campus, there exists a real risk that a non- vaccinated student could be banned from attending classes, resulting in failure of school. LIM college in New York states very clearly that they would not be held liable in any way for student failure and loss of tuition costs caused by this situation.
LIM college stated the following:
NOTE: You should understand the consequences of not getting immunized. If there is an outbreak or threat of an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease, non-immune students may be excluded from campus by an order written by the New York State Department of Health. The order remains in force until the outbreak or the immediate risk of outbreak has ended. It should be noted that extended period of absences from classes can result in academic failure. In such cases that you are not able to attend class due to non-immunization and disease outbreak, LIM College will not be responsible for academic failure and/or tuition costs for the enrolled semester. 
The University of Washington has a similar policy on their campuses. should there be an outbreak of measles. 
Two Bad Choices
It is clear that students may be penalized for not complying with university vaccination guidelines. One possible consequence includes not being admitted to the university. The other possibility includes exclusion from campus and residence halls, in case of disease outbreak. This could result in failure of students who are not allowed to participate in their required course work. Of course, one option is to obtain the mandated vaccinations. The other choice is to opt out of required vaccines with an exemption.
Some of the diseases for which vaccinations exist can be serious, including meningitis. Many illnesses for which vaccines are recommended are for mild childhood illnesses such as chicken pox, measles and mumps. Unfortunately, vaccinations have not been proven safe, nor effective, in preventing any disease.  Some homeopathic vaccines, to the contrary, have been shown to be safe and effective in preventing disease outbreak, but not the standard conventional vaccinations which universities require. 
Risks Versus Benefits for Meningitis Vaccination
Because so much attention is focused on the meningitis vaccine for incoming freshmen, if you have a prospective college student, it is important to be informed regarding this vaccine. Several serious and life-threatening reactions have been documented following meningitis vaccinations.
As of 2012, the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), which includes a small fraction of actual injuries, reported 2300 serious health problems following the meningococcal shot. This number includes 39 deaths from the vaccination. 
Twenty to forty percent of adults carry meningococcal organisms at any given time, but do not succumb to this illness. As teenagers grow, most develop natural real antibodies to meningitis, which prevent contraction of the disease. The antibodies created by the vaccine are not equal to the real cellular immunity needed to prevent meningitis. 
College campuses vary in regards to their vaccine policies. The meningitis vaccine is the most commonly required vaccination for all incoming freshmen, based on the recommendations of the CDC. Several other vaccinations are required and recommended, with much variation by individual colleges. Most universities provide a religious exemption for students, but some do not. It is worthwhile to investigate what your university vaccine policies are, in addition to the exemptions that exist for colleges in which your student has an interest.
Learn More to Make Your Own Informed Vaccination Choices
For additional resources on vaccine dangers, check the following: National Vaccine Information Center, Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock’s Wellness Reports, Natural News, International Medical Council on Vaccinations, and VacTruth.
Keep up with your state laws by registering at the National Vaccine Information Center Advocacy Portal. They will alert you to pending vaccine laws in your state and provide action alerts for you.
Michelle is passionate about holistic health and healing. She has written and published articles for Natural News, VacTruth and other blogs, including the popular Healthy Home Economist. Her health articles can be found at her blog, Holistic Health to Go. She can also be followed on her Facebook Page.