Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
"I'm pretty sure I had the MMR shot before kindergarten. I just can't find the papers. Why do I have to have it again? I hate shots!"
Measles, mumps and rubella are highly communicable diseases. Before the MMR vaccine was introduced in 1963 there were an estimated 3.5 million cases of measles and at least 500 deaths annually. Outbreaks of both measles and mumps on college campuses have been reported with increasing frequency. Students tend to congregate in close quarters and in large groups (e.g., dormitories, classrooms, and social and sporting events) and any introduction of these viruses can easily cause widespread disease in inadequately immunized populations.
To protect your health and the health of the campus and community, being "pretty sure" you've had the vaccine is not enough. Repeating the vaccination will further boost your immunity even if you've already had the shot. You may even find that shots don't really hurt as much as you might remember from kindergarten!
You also have the option of getting a blood test to see if you carry the antibodies. This would confirm that you have immunity to the disease.
"I'm 22 but I've heard that Hepatitis B immunization is good to have. Is there any way I can get the shot and not have to pay for it?"
We definitely recommend vaccination against Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted liver disease that is spread much like HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, but is 100 times easier to catch than HIV! This is because the Hepatitis B virus is over 100 times more concentrated in an infected person's blood than HIV, it can exist on surfaces outside the body, and one out of every 20 people living in the United States is infected. Hepatitis B infection can cause severe liver disease, including liver failure (cirrhosis) and liver cancer. Over 5,000 people die in the United States every year from Hepatitis B-related liver disease.
You may qualify for a free Hepatitis B vaccine if you are 18 years of age and younger. The cost for students 19 and older is $40 per dose. The complete series requires three doses over a four to six month interval.