Immunization: Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions from incoming medical students regarding immunization requirements for admission to UNMC.
Q: Can I just submit my immunization records in place of the Health Immunization Form?
A: No. The Health Immunization Form is a required document. If the form is not signed by a healthcare provider you must provide adequate backup documentation (e.g., school immunization records, military records, shot records from a physician’s office, etc.).
Q: Why isn’t my immunization record sufficient for proof of immunity?
A: The University of Nebraska Medical Center adheres to the recommended guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for healthcare workers. Proof of immunity must be verified via blood titers for Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella, and Hepatitis B. Immunity for Tetanus and Pertussis is verifiable by a recent dose of Tetanus Diphtheria Acellular Pertussis (Tdap) vaccine. [More info…]
Q: If I need blood titers, why must I also submit my immunization history?
A: Immunization dates are important in the event that your blood titers are negative. Each required titer has a specific number of doses needed to complete a series. For example, Nebraska requires 2 doses of the MMR or MMRV vaccine be given on or after 12 months of age and separated by at least one month. If any of the required titers is negative, specific guidelines are available for attempting to boost one’s immunity. In most cases, an additional dose of the vaccine will be administered and the titer rechecked after 20 days, if it is not medically contraindicated.
Q: What if I had the Varicella infection (chickenpox) as a child?
A: In most cases, your titer will prove sufficient for immunity if you had the infection in the past. If you've never had chickenpox, you will be required to complete a two-dose series for Varicella. (Note: Just having a history of chickenpox is not enough. You need to also have a titer to verify/prove immunity.)
Q: I started the Hepatitis B series, but never completed it. Do I need to start the series over?
A: Generally, it isn’t necessary to restart the series. Most likely you would need to receive the missing doses as indicated, wait 30 days and then get a Hepatitis B Surface Antibody titer drawn. As a reminder, if your titer is negative, you must complete a second Hepatitis B series with a follow-up titer.
Q: I had the PPD (TB skin test) last year. Do I need another one?
A: Yes. However, there are two steps involved in Tuberculosis testing, and you may not need both steps. The first time a person receives the TB test, he or she must complete the two-step test. After receiving the two-step test, the annual test is just a one-step test. If you have documentation that you have received the two-step test previously and have an uninterrupted history of annual testing, then you only need the one-step test within six months prior to registration. However, if you have never been tested for TB, or you have been tested but do not have an uninterrupted history of annual testing, then you must do the two step test within six months prior to registration.
Q: It seems like UNMC’s immunization requirements are quite extensive. Why is this?
A: It is our intent to provide knowledge of, and take precautions to prevent, communicable diseases for students preparing to enter the healthcare profession. These immunization requirements enable us to ensure the health and safety across the entire UNMC community (patients, faculty and students, and visitors).
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