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Immunization Recommendations and Screening Requirements for California Colleges & Universities

Requiring immunizations at your campus and increased immunization rates can help:

  • Keep students and staff protected from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks
  • Keep staff and students focused on their academics
  • Reduce the likelihood of requiring additional staff time during an outbreak
  • Reduce medical costs to our California institutions and students

The combination of weakening protection from some childhood vaccines and crowded campus housing living situations can place college students at greater risk for catching or spreading diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks continue to occur on college campuses, including measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), and meningococcal disease. During disease outbreaks, the costs related to investigating each case and outbreak are significant and can be a huge burden for universities, public health departments, and health care systems.

To help protect students and staff, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urges all California colleges and universities with campus housing to implement these recommendations at their campus:​​​

Immunization

Recommended​Doses

Which students should be immunized or immune?*

​Existing Requirements by Executive Order

Existing Requirements by State Law ​

Hepatitis B

Full immunization series.

​All incoming students 

​NA

​First-time enrollees at CSU younger than 19 years of age (Health and Safety Code, Section 120390.5).†​

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

​Full immunization series.
​All incoming students through 26 years of age.
NA

​Students are advised to complete HPV vaccination prior to first-time enrollment at a CSU, UC, or community college campus per Health and Safety Code section 120390.6

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)

​2 doses on or after 1st birthday.†
All incoming students born after 1956.

​UC System requires 2 doses.​

​NA
Meningococcal Conjugate (Serogroups A, C, W, and Y, MenACWY)‡

​1 dose on or after 16th birthday.

All incoming students. ‡§
​UC System requires 1 dose on or after age 16 years and age 21 years or younger.
​MenACWY and MenB: Institutions that provide on-campus housing must inform students about meningococcal disease and vaccine. Public institutions must document receipt of information and whether they choose to be immunized (Health and Safety Code, Sections 120395-120399). ¶

Meningococcal Serogroup B Vaccine (MenB) [optional]§

MenB vaccine series starting on or after 16th birthday.
Students 16 through 23 years of age may receive the vaccine series. §¶
​CSU System - local requirement at some campuses; check with institution. 
MenACWY and MenB: Institutions that provide on-campus housing must inform students about meningococcal disease and vaccine. Public institutions must document receipt of information and whether they choose to be immunized (Health and Safety Code, Sections 120395-120399). ¶​​
Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap)
​1 dose on or after 11th birthday, then Tdap or Td every 10 years.**
​All incoming students.
​UC System requires 1 dose on or after age 11 years, ​​then Tdap or Td every 10 years.**​
​NA
Varicella (chickenpox)

​2 doses on or after 1st birthday.†
​All incoming students born in U.S. after 1979.
​UC System requires 2 doses.
​NA
SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) ​​

​1 dose of updated vaccine.
​All incoming students.
​UC System requires Up-To-Date vaccination.
​NA
Influenza (Flu) [seasonal]
1 dose of seasonal vaccine.
All students.
​CSU and UC System - local requirement at some campuses; check with institution.
NA

* Students in health professions may have additional immunization requirements and fewer exemptions.

† Minimum interval of 4 weeks between doses is valid. 

‡ ACIP recommends MenACWY routinely at age 11 through 12 years, with a booster dose at age 16 years. First-year college students who live in residential housing are recommended to receive MenACWY if they did not receive a dose on or after their 16th birthday. 

§ First-year college students who live in residential housing are recommended to receive MenB if they did not receive a dose on or after their 16th birthday. College students are at increased risk, especially those who are freshmen, attend a four-year university, live in on-campus housing, or participate in sororities and fraternities. Students of any age determined to be at-risk in an institutional outbreak attributable to a meningococcal vaccine serogroup are also recommended to get vaccinated. 

¶ Check with your doctor or health plan about vaccine availability and coverage.

** Additional recommendations include: Completion of primary tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis series; Tdap or Td booster every 10 years after initial series. ​

Additional ACIP Immunization Recommendations:

  • Hepatitis A vaccine (if student desires protection)
  • Poliovirus vaccine (if did not complete series as a child for persons under age 18 years)
  • Vaccines for international travel, based on destination.
  • Students with certain medical conditions (e.g., diabetes mellitus) or certain risk factors may need additional immunizations.

Tuberculosis (TB) Risk Assessment:

All incoming students should be assessed for their risk of developing TB. Model TB risk assessment questionnaires suitable for adaptation for student acceptance packets, as well as recommendations for evaluation and treatment of students with a positive screening test, are available at the American College Health Association​​ or TB Risk Assessment websites. Students with identified risk factors for TB, such as birth in a country with an elevated TB rate (includes countries other than the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Western and North European countries), should have a tuberculin skin test (TST) or Interferon-gamma release blood test (IGRA). IGRA is preferred over TST for non-U.S. born persons.

Exemptions for Students:
Students may be granted medical exemptions from required immunizations if they can provide a signed statement from a
physician documenting either:
a) the student has a physical condition or medical circumstance that contraindicates vaccination.
b) other evidence of immunity

  • MMR: born before 1957 or positive IgG serology for measles, mumps, and rubella.
  • Varicella: born in U.S. before 1980, physician certification of history of chickenpox disease or shingles, or positive varicella IgG (prior disease).
Duration of exemption (permanent or temporary with end date) should be specified.

Documentation:

Using an immunization registry to look up vaccine history is highly recommended. All immunizations in California are required to be entered  into a California registry (see California Immunization Registry for more information). The completed immunization record, exemption documentation, tuberculosis risk questionnaire and any action indicated (e.g., TB test [yes or no]), results of any TB test (e.g., type and date of test and skin test reading (in mm) or IGRA results), and evaluation for active TB should be documented and submitted to school prior to attendance. This information should be maintained in each student’s health or academic file in paper or electronic form.​

Meningococcal Informing Law

California State law mandates that UC’s with on-campus housing inform students about meningococcal disease and vaccine. UC’s must also document students’ receipt of information and whether they choose to get immunized (Health and Safety Code Sections 120395–120399).

Required Immunizations for the California State University System

The CSU recommends that students are current for the immunizations listed in the table above.​​ A CSU campus and/or campus-sponsored program whose participants may have increased exposure risk are authorized to require documentation of recommended immunizations in accordance with California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines. Please confirm details with your specific CSU campus of interest.

Required Immunizations at the University of California

The University of California is committed to protecting the health and well-being of their students. Vaccination against potentially severe and preventable illnesses is a proven strategy to protect individuals and the community. Therefore, UC requires ALL incoming students to follow the recommendations of the California Department of Public Health Immunization Branch for immunizations and screening for tuberculosis prior to beginning their studies at any of the UC campuses. All students on UC campuses are required to document that immunization and TB screening requirements have been met. Please confirm details with your specific UC campus of interest.

Executive Order UC-HS-17-0320 November 15, 2016 (PDF)​

Policy on Vaccination Programs - With Interim Revisions (ucop.edu) (PDF) August 16, 2023

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