Immunization Requirement Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I've just been notified that I need to submit my immunization records. Why?
A: SUNY Empire State College conducts registration audits each term to identify students whose registration requires them to submit immunization documentation. Students whose course registration totals 6 or more credits of coursework including independent study, study group or residency courses allow faculty and students the opportunity to meet face-to-face at one of our locations across the state. Therefore, it is the type of course you register for that determines the requirements to comply.
Q: What if I do not have copies of my immunization records?
A: You have many options available to submit acceptable forms of proof of immunization:
- Contact your physician or healthcare provider and request they send Empire State College your vaccination record.
- Contact a previous New York State college/university health office or U.S elementary or high school and request they send Empire State College your vaccination record.
- Contact your physician to obtain titer (blood) tests to determine immunity, or
- Contact your local pharmacy, or county/city health department to obtain vaccinations at little or no cost.
Q: The College did not accept the documents I submitted. What are acceptable forms of proof of immunization?
A: Students must submit physician-verified documents to prove immunization. These documents must provide your name and date of birth. Documents include but are not limited to:
- Student Immunization Record Form, completed and signed by your physician/RN/PA
- Physician verified copies of Immunization Records, including but not limited to:
- Personal vaccination record, obtained from physician or secure online portal
- Military vaccination records
- Elementary or high school health records, sent directly from school to ESC
- Previous college health records, sent directly from college to ESC
- Immunization record book- full scan of booklet must be received in order to be acceptable
- Copy of lab report for Titer (blood) test showing positive results for measles, mumps, rubella
- Immunization receipt/record from Pharmacy where vaccination administered. Must have date vaccination received and signature from pharmacist or pharmacy assistant.
Q: My professor teaches my course completely online, so I don't think I need to comply. Do I?
A: If your registration in any term totals 6 or more credits of coursework including independent study, study group or residency courses, yes, you will need to comply. These Empire State College courses offer flexible, tailored studies, which allow faculty and students the opportunity to meet face-to-face at one of our locations across the state. Therefore, it is the type of course you register for that determines the requirement to comply.
Q: I want to study completely online. How can I be sure my registration each term does not qualify me to submit immunization documentation?
A: In the Term Guide, browse for courses whose mode of study is Online Course. These courses are taught completely online, the building will be designated as Online Course, and the credits are not counted towards the 6 credit requirement for immunization compliance.
Q: Why do I need to submit my immunization records?
A: It is the law! New York State requires students to be immunized against measles, mumps and rubella. New York State Public Health Law Section 2165 requires that students who were born on or after January 1, 1957 and registered for 6 or more credit hours must provide proof of immunity to measles, mumps and rubella to attend a post-secondary institution.
Q: My doctor says I should not receive any immunizations. What should I do?
A: Students may request a medical exemption by submitting documentation written by their licensed physician or nurse practitioner that is: typed, written on office letterhead, specifies your full name and date of birth, with a statement regarding the exemption - including which vaccinations should not be administered and how long the contraindication will last.
Q: What is the danger of not being immunized against measles?
A: Complications from measles occur in up to 30 percent of all cases. Serious complications of measles include pneumonia, encephalitis, middle ear infections and seizures. Measles is highly contagious. Approximately 90% of non-immune people in close contact with individuals with measles will become infected with the measles virus. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die.
Q: What is the danger of not being immunized against mumps?
A: Mumps can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, inflammation of the testicles, inflammation of the ovaries and/or breasts, inflammation of the pancreas, spontaneous abortion and deafness. Mumps spreads through direct contact with respiratory secretions or saliva or through fomites. The spread of the mumps virus can be facilitated by close contact in certain settings, such as college dormitories.
Q: What is the danger of not being immunized against rubella?
A: Rubella infection is dangerous because of its ability to damage an unborn baby. Infection of a pregnant woman can result in miscarriage, still birth or the birth of an infant with abnormalities which may include deafness, blindness, cataracts, heart defects, mental retardation, liver and spleen damage.
Q: What meets the requirements for proof of immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella?
- Two doses of live measles vaccine, the first dose having bee received no more than 4 days prior to the first birthday and the second dose at least 28 days after the first dose; or
- A diagnosis of measles disease by a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner*; or
- Serological evidence of immunity to measles.
- One dose of live mumps vaccine received no more than 4 days prior to the first birthday; or
- A diagnosis of mumps disease by a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner*; or
- Serological evidence of immunity to mumps
- One dose of live rubella vaccine received no more than 4 days prior to the first birthday;
- Serological evidence of immunity to rubella
*No longer recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Schools are strongly encouraged to rely on vaccine history or serological evidence of immunity for measles and mumps proof of immunity requirements.
Q: What meets the requirements for proof of immunity to meningitis?
A: Vaccination of at least 1 dose of meningococcal ACWY vaccine within the last 5 years or a complete 2-or-3-dose series of MenB; or a signed response form indicating that the student will not obtain immunization against meningococcal disease.
Q: What does "serological evidence of immunity" mean?
A: "Serological evidence of immunity" refers to results of a blood test that indicates the presence of antibodies against measles, mumps and/or rubella. Positive serological test results are acceptable proof of immunity.