After a mumps outbreak sickened more than 100 students, Temple University announced last month a new policy requiring incoming students to have the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Previously, the university did not require immunizations for admitted or enrolled students.
The new policy, which will be developed over the summer and rolled out in fall 2019, adds Temple to a long list of local universities that already require the vaccine.
Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, Saint Joseph’s University, La Salle University, Community College of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania State University, Villanova University, West Chester University, Thomas Jefferson University, and Princeton University all require incoming students to have two doses of the MMR vaccine.
The CDC recommends children get two doses of the MMR vaccine: the first at 12 to 15 months old and the second at 4 to 6 years old. The vaccine is 88 percent effective when someone gets two doses.
Most elementary schools require the vaccine for entry, but exceptions on religious and moral grounds are offered based on the state.
Temple officials said they are still working out details on how the policy will be enforced and what exemptions will be provided. It will also require students to have the chicken pox vaccine and the tetanus, diptheria, pertussis (TDAP) vaccine.
Laura Siminoff, dean of Temple’s College of Public Health, previously told The Inquirer that requiring vaccines for incoming students is a smart public health decision. Many universities already require vaccinations, and there’s nothing preventing others from enacting such rules, she said.
“It’s probably an oversight when a university doesn’t,” Siminoff said.
Since the mumps outbreak began at Temple in late January, 116 cases have been reported. Eighteen are confirmed and 98 probable, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health said. The majority of cases are in Philadelphia. Six are from surrounding counties.
Most of the students who have had mumps symptoms were vaccinated as children, the city health department said. But there is evidence that the mumps vaccine loses strength over time. The CDC recommends a booster shot of the MMR vaccine during a mumps outbreak.
Last week Temple offered free vaccine clinics and delivered 4,819 doses of MMR to students and faculty over two days.
Temple will continue to make free MMR vaccines available to students and staff through the health center on campus.