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Vaccinations, Required and Optional, Help Keep Students Safe

Vaccinations, Required and Optional, Help Keep Students

By Jennifer Spencer

As parents of incoming Fordham freshmen work through the long list of tasks to prepare their students for college this fall, University Health Services would like to remind them to double-check that they have submitted proof of their students’ vaccinations.

New York state law requires that students have had two doses of the vaccination for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and that they either receive a meningitis vaccine or sign a waiver stating that they understand the risk of not receiving the immunization.

Proof of vaccination was due to University Health Services on July 15, but students who have not yet submitted the forms can download them at the Fordham website and e-mail a scanned copy of completed forms to

To ensure compliance with this important state law, Kathleen Malara, executive director of University Health Services, said that students who fail to supply the necessary paperwork will eventually be barred from registering for the following semester.

In addition to following the minimum guidelines for the MMR vaccine, Malara recommends students take other precautions for health as they arrive on campus and prepare to live in close quarters in the residence halls.

“Once they get to school and the fall semester begins, students should start to think about immunization for influenza,” Malara said. “The vaccine really helps prevent the flu, and while there’s no surefire way to say you won’t get it, you may get a much milder case of the flu with the vaccine.”

University Health Services also recommends, but does not require, that incoming freshmen submit a physical examination form completed by their doctor.

Malara said that having information about a student’s medical history, current medications, and any chronic illnesses provides valuable information to help her team best care for students.

“We review every single physical that comes to our office. If, God forbid, somebody would be transported to the hospital, it’s beneficial to the patient that the healthcare provider where they live has information related to their illness and medical history.”

In addition to taking sound medical precautions to prepare for a healthy Fordham career, Malara said some of the best advice parents can relay to their children is the value of a good night’s sleep.

“Students tend to not get enough rest once they’re here, as they’re going to class, making friends, and exploring the area. But if they don’t get enough rest, they can’t feed their brains and get through the academic part of college. Sleep is probably the big key,” she said.

Parents can access information about Student Health Services hours, locations, and phone numbers at the center’s website.

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