LOS ANGELES (AP) — Students entering the University of California system in 2017 will have to be vaccinated against measles and other diseases under new immunization rules announced Friday.
The change, which had been in the works before the latest measles outbreak, has taken on new urgency after infections that originated at Disneyland in December spread to communities in half a dozen states and Mexico. Most who fell ill were not vaccinated.
UC currently requires students to be inoculated only against hepatitis B, although some individual campuses have stricter immunization rules. The new plan will require students to be screened for tuberculosis and vaccinated for measles, chickenpox, whooping cough, meningitis and tetanus.
"The University of California is committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of our students," Mary Knudtson, chair of the UC Immunization Policy Committee, said in a statement.
The new vaccination requirements were based on recommendations from the California Department of Public Health.
On Friday, public health officials said 103 people have contracted measles since the outbreak began. Two-thirds were infected when they visited or worked at Disneyland during the exposure period in December or had contact with a sick person who was there. Measles cases have also been confirmed in half a dozen states.
Doctors have urged residents to get vaccinated against measles.
The UC vaccine plan will be phased in over three years. Students will be made aware of the changes this fall. Those entering in fall 2017 must show proof of vaccinations or their registration will be put on hold.
University officials said there will be exemptions for medical or religious reasons.
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