A measles outbreak is not particularly likely at Temple, but students and staff should still be conscious of how their own preventative health measures will affect others around them. With students living in close quarters in residence halls and generally sharing spaces, it is imperative that the university community maintain a stable, high vaccination rate in order to prevent any possible outbreaks of disease.
In light of recent outbreaks of the measles in California, Senior Administrator of Student Health Services Mark Denys said Temple would take action to form an immunization plan if the university were informed of a risk of outbreak by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This type of protocol would involve treatment, prevention, communication and education, he said. Hopefully, if risk of disease does arise in the area, enough members of the Temple community would already be vaccinated and no serious outbreaks could take place on Main Campus.
Pennsylvania has one of the lowest vaccination rates of the 50 states, where only slightly more than 85 percent of kindergartners were vaccinated in 2013-14. And while many high schools have rules requiring vaccination, Temple does not – though it is recommended. If a risk of outbreak occurs, it stands to reason that the university will create a new vaccination policy to address the situation, but any students and staff who are not vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella should take preventative action before such regulations are required.
Most immunization shots can be procured through Student Health Services, which is highly accessible to Temple students. The measles vaccination is $55 – a small price to pay for lifelong protection against infectious disease. Dr. Thomas Fekete, Infectious Disease section chief at Temple University Hospital, said it is “prudent to vaccinate when health is good and the immune system is strong.” It is also, he said, the time to take advantage of student independence at the start of adulthood, regardless of familial situations that may have caused students to be unvaccinated.
Anyone who is healthy and able to be vaccinated on Main Campus should consider it their responsibility to the health and safety of the entire community to be vaccinated.