All students entering the University are required to show proof of two MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccinations. Most individuals have had to meet this requirement for primary school, so the easiest way to locate your records is to check with your family physician's office, school system, or childhood records your parents may have. If you cannot find your records, you may receive the vaccine at Student Health & Wellness. Click here to go to our Requirements & Forms page.
Students may request medical or religious exemptions from receiving immunization(s) by submitting one of the following to SHW:
Religious exemption: Signed letter from their religious official attesting that:
- The immunization conflicts with a genuine and sincere religious belief
- The belief is religious not merely based on philosophical, scientific, moral, personal or medical opposition to immunization.
Medical exemption: Signed document from a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner stating:
- The vaccine(s) that is/are medically contraindicated
- Medical reasons for the exemption request.
Other immunizations that we strongly recommend are:
HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
HPV is a common virus that infects the skin and mucous membranes that can lead to cervical, oral and other cancers. There is a vaccine for both men and women. The HPV vaccine is a cancer prevention vaccine and is a 3-shot series.
Influenza vaccine – (Flu shot or mist)
Influenza usually comes to campus early and stays late with peak infection times in late fall (around finals) and early winter. According to the CDC, the single best way to prevent getting the flu is to get a flu vaccine. We think it is so important that SHW will offer flu vaccine clinics at various sites around campus as well as walk-in flu clinics here at SHW.
You may have received this series of three shots as a baby. Hepatitis B is contracted through exchange of blood or body fluids. A blood test can be done to confirm immunity to Hepatitis B (required for all health science students).
Tetanus Diphtheria and Acellular Pertussis (Tdap)
The Tdap vaccine is recommended once as an adult and then reverts to Tetanus/Diphtheria once every ten years. This vaccine protects you from tetanus (AKA lockjaw) must commonly a risk after being wounded or bitten; diphtheria is an upper respiratory tract illness characterized by sore throat, low fever, and an adherent membrane on the tonsils, pharynx, and/or nasal cavity; acellular pertussis is an adult form of the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine. Each year we see several cases of pertussis on campus. It is a very contagious disease requiring isolation for a period of multiple days while on medication. This cough can linger for several months even when the period of contagiousness is over, and this can affect your sleep, socialization and academics.
This vaccine is so important for students to receive that Iowa law requires us to inform you about meningococcal disease and the vaccine. Meningitis is an infection of the lining of the brain that can be caused by a bacteria or a virus. Bacterial meningitis is highly contagious and can be fatal or result in serious long term effects such as blindness, coma, amputations, and permanent brain damage. While not common, the risk for this disease is greatest in people under the age of 20 who are living in close quarters and who may share eating utensils, personal hygiene items, or through close personal contact (e.g., kissing). It is recommended for anyone who wants to reduce risk--not just students in the residence halls. The CDC recommends a Meningitis vaccine booster for students who received their first vaccine before the age of 16. It is currently recommended at age 11-12, so if you received it then, you should get a booster as you start college.
Varicella (chicken pox)
The Varicella vaccine is only recommended for those who have not had the disease. Chicken pox is a highly contagious viral infection. Fortunately there is a very effective vaccine to protect you from catching it. Varicella is a 2-shot series.
The Hepatitis A vaccine protects against infectious hepatitis which is usually contracted through contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all, but essential for anyone traveling outside the US. This is a 2-vaccine series.