By Armand Echeverry
Students attending York College received free vaccinations just before the fall began. Legally, students must receive vaccinations before they can attend classes at York College to prevent the potential spread of maladies.
According to the CUNY website, the immunization requirements for post-secondary admission states that vaccinations for Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Hepatitis B and Tetanus are given out for free to students provided that they receive two doses of each vaccination as mandated by the New York State Public Health Law.
A number of students have been vaccinated at York College. Vaccinated students range from freshman, transfer students, and students who cannot find their documentation for immunization.
“We get all types of students coming in for vaccinations, but most of the students we’ve seen are those who are transfers or those who cannot find their documentation,” said Sharon Hawkins, a student wellness specialist at the York’s Health Services Department. “I’m responsible for the orders of the vaccines and keeping up to par with the orders. I make sure everything goes accordingly in the office, but I cannot give someone a vaccination since I am not a registered nurse,” said Hawkins. In compliance with the immunization regulations, all students who were born prior to Dec. 31, 1956, must submit documentation or evidence of two immunizations for measles and rubella in order to attend the University. In addition to the required vaccinations for students to take, one that is not required is recommended by the new Manager of Health Services at York College, Marva Frederick, who is a registered nurse.
“I truly recommend an HPV vaccination because it prevents STD’s that can cause cervical cancer,” said Frederick. “It is beneficial to take this vaccine prior to sexual intercourse, so between the ages of 11 to 16 would be best.”
Frederick advises students who are not able to take their vaccines at York College, should dial 311 for immunization services or see their private doctor.
When any student wants to become vaccinated, they must bring in their immunization card, student identification and a parental consent if they are under the age of 18. Both Hawkins and Frederick also suggest that students take their vaccination for Tetanus. “The TDAP shot isn’t required but it’s recommended because it stops lockjaw, which is an infection from a serious cut, bite or rabies and the jaw tightens which is very painful,” said Frederick.
According to the WebMD website, lockjaw has become a rarity in the United States due to the vaccination, but adults in the United States are still urged to receive a tetanus vaccination because 10 to 20 percent of victims die since there is no remedy.
College students aren’t the only recipients of injections for disease prevention. Wilkinson Lincifort, 17, is a senior at the Queens High School for the Sciences at York College. Lincifort aspires to achieve success in the medical field and is cognizant of the illnesses that can spread if not handled discreetly.
“I got my vaccination three years ago from the last time I can remember. Once I turn 18, and enter college, I’m going to go for another vaccination to reduce my risks of catching any illnesses that could easily spread,” said Lincifort.
Vaccinations have been controversial for decades, with many people resisting the practice for religious or philosophical reasons. In 2014 there were a record 668 reported cases of measles, the majority of which involved unvaccinated people, according to the CDC. By contrast, as of Aug. 21, there have been 188 reported cases nationwide this year.
“If an incident like this were to occur in school, then we must notify everyone in the school as well as the Public Health Council,” said Frederick. “We also have to vacate those who received vaccinations from the school. We can’t prevent an outbreak, so it’s up to the students to avail themselves to what’s available.”