Temple Student Government candidate teams weigh in on mumps outbreak

RiseTU supported the university providing free vaccines, but BecomingTU thought it was an unrealistic request.

RiseTU and BecomingTU, the campaigns running for 2019-20 Temple Student Government executive branch, react to a question about the mumps outbreak. | LUKE SMITH / FILE PHOTO

The two executive teams running for Temple Student Government’s 2019-20 positions released statements about the university’s mumps outbreak on Tuesday.

The teams disagreed on how the university should handle the outbreak, which reached 74 Temple University-related cases on Wednesday, the Philadelphia Health Department reported. RiseTU’s statement requested the university provide free booster shots of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine to all students. For students without insurance, the MMR vaccine costs $135 at CVS, according to the pharmacy’s website.

“Vaccinations are not a luxury, they are a right for a healthy life in a 21st century United States, which is why Temple University needs to be offering these immunizations free of charge to all students,” the statement read.

Student Health Services has the MMR vaccine for $63, a university spokesperson told The Temple News, but announced on Thursday that it would provide two free walk-in MMR vaccination clinics next week on Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Mitten Hall.

In an email to The Temple News, RiseTU stood by its stance on university-subsidized vaccinations, which would increase accessibility for students who want or need to get vaccinated, wrote Andrea Sarmiento, the team’s director of communications.

“It would be remiss of us to not speak about a growing health issue,” she wrote.

BecomingTU responded later on Tuesday, stating the campaign believes it’s not feasible for the university to provide lower-cost booster shots to the Temple community because the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulates the price of MMR vaccines.

Students should have realistic expectations about fighting the outbreak, BecomingTU’s statement read. The team decided to instead share information about where to access lower-cost vaccines, wrote Katherine Desrochers, BecomingTU’s director of communications, in an email to The Temple News.

Various healthcare centers in North Philadelphia have fees based on income for vaccinations, like Spectrum Health Services on Broad Street near Master and the Stephen Klein Wellness Center on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near 22nd Street.

“We cannot mislead students or give them false hope that they may receive a free vaccine,” Desrochers wrote. “We provided options for students with or without healthcare because we do not want anyone to wait for an unlikely free vaccine.”

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