Required Immunizations: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps and Rubella
The Illinois College Student Immunization Code requires that all students entering a post-secondary institution in the State of Illinois must provide proof of immunity to measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria and tetanus within one semester of enrollment to prevent the introduction and spread of these diseases among students and to prevent their spread into the surrounding community. This handout discusses how to comply with the Act.
Measles, Mumps and Rubella
You are considered IMMUNE to measles, mumps and rubella if you can provide a certificate of immunity, signed by a healthcare professional of either:
- two doses of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, given one year or more from the date of birth, and given at least 28 days or more from each other. The certification must include the year, month, and day that the immunizations were administered, or
- a signed record of serologic immunity (antibody titers).
You are considered SUSCEPTIBLE if:
- you have not been vaccinated or you received one or both shots before one year after the date of your birth.
- you were born after 1956 and received a killed vaccine, or if you received the combination of killed vaccine and gamma globulin.
- you have not received two doses.
- your antibody titer levels are negative or intermediate.
Tetanus and Diphtheria
The Illinois College Immunization Code has different requirements for domestic and international students. The University of Illinois interprets the code depending upon the admission status as either a domestic or international student.
- If you are an international student, then you are considered IMMUNE to tetanus and diphtheria if you can provide a certificate of immunity signed by a healthcare professional showing at least three vaccinations against tetanus and diphtheria, and if one of those shots was given within the past 10 years.
- If you are a domestic student, then you are considered IMMUNE if you can provide a certificate of immunity signed by a healthcare professional showing that your last vaccination against tetanus and diphtheria were given within 10 years of the term of enrollment.
Serologic tests (antibody titers) are not acceptable evidence of immunity against either tetanus or diphtheria.
Exemptions from the Illinois College Student Code
The Code permits exemption from one or more requirements under the following circumstances:
- Date of birth prior to January 1, 1957
- A written statement from a physician indicating the nature and probable duration of a medical condition that contraindicates such immunization(s)
- A written and signed statement by the student, or if the student is under age 18, by a parent or guardian, that sets forth the specific religious belief that makes immunization objectionable. The immunization code does not recognize objections of conscience. A statement for religious exemption must be submitted to and approved by the Office of the Dean of Students.
- Instruction that involves no contact with other students (for example, field work or classes conducted solely by computer, telephone, or written correspondence and not requiring any on-campus presence.)
- Though the Code does not cover students enrolled less than half-time, the University grants no exception to part-time students.
Commonly Asked Questions About The College Student Immunization Code:
1. What are the consequences of not complying with the Act?
If you do not fulfill the requirements of the Code, then the Code requires that the University must prevent you from enrolling in subsequent semesters. At approximately halfway into their first semesters, students who are not in compliance will have an immunization hold placed. An immunization hold prevents enrolling in future classes, adding or dropping classes.
2. I do not have records of all of my shots. What are my options?
Here are a number of options that might be helpful to you.
- Check with your primary or secondary school to see if they have a record of your shots. It is common practice in the United States for high schools to require and to keep copies of immunization records.
- Catch up on your vaccinations prior to starting at the University of Illinois. Revaccination is one method to fulfill the requirements of the Code.
- Talk to your health care provider about a blood test for antibodies against measles, mumps, and rubella. If all of your titers are positive, then you will not require any record of vaccination against these diseases. However, antibody titers can’t substitute for vaccination against either tetanus or diphtheria.
- Get your shots at McKinley Health Center, the student health center at the University of Illinois. There is a charge for shots given at the health center.
3. How should my immunization record be signed by my healthcare provider? Who can serve as a health care provider?
The Code requires the name, signature, and telephone number of the health care provider. A health care provider can be a physician fully licensed to practice, the local health authority, a registered nurse employed by a school, college, or university, or an Illinois Department of Public Health-recognized vaccine provider.
4. If I cannot obtain a copy of my immunization records, should I either make up or pay someone else to make up a fake immunization record?
No. Providing false information is a violation of the University of Illinois Code Of Conduct. Violations can result in discipline. You should get revaccinated if you do not have sufficient records.
5. Why does Illinois have an immunization code and why are there different requirements for domestic and international students?
Four of the five vaccine-preventable diseases covered by the Code can easily spread from person to person in school settings and spread into the local community, and cause serious illness or death. There are different requirements for domestic and international students because different countries have different immunization requirements.
6. Are there other vaccinations that university students should have?
Yes. Though there is neither state law nor university requirement to have them, all college students should be immunized against hepatitis B and polio. All university freshmen should be vaccinated against meningococcal disease. All women should be vaccinated against human papilloma virus (HPV.) At least one of adult tetanus/diphtheria shots should include additional protection against pertussis.