While the pandemic has changed the deadline, students still need to get these immunizations

K-State students can get a flu shot without an appointment at Lafene Health Center. ( Archive photo by Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

There are specific health and vaccination requirements all students must have documented before coming to Kansas State’s campus as a new student: tuberculosis screening and testing if needed, two MMR vaccines and one meningococcal vaccine.

Abby King, nursing coordinator at Lafene Health Center, said the process to complete these is very simple.

“All the requirements can be completed online and through our patient portal and that portal can be accessed through our website,” King said. “There will be your TB screening questionnaire with a list of questions that will screen you for potential symptoms, if you’ve traveled to a high risk area that exposed someone that had active tuberculosis, that will be submitted to us and our nursing staff look through that list.”

The tuberculosis screening, a Kansas law, is required on all campuses, but others vary from campus to campus.

“The MMR vaccine is a Manhattan campus requirement only, so if you’re attending classes on the Manhattan campus, you’ll be required to submit proof of two MMR vaccines,” King said. “The first MMR vaccine should be after their first birthday and then, if they’re living in the dorms or any kind of campus housing, they will need to submit proof of one meningococcal vaccine at age 16 or older.”

If a student chooses not to get these vaccines, they are required to sign a waiver. The meningococcal vaccine waiver is available in the patient portal, whereas the MMR is in-person and only after meeting with the medical director.

To enforce these requirements, a hold is typically placed on a student’s KSIS account and they are prevented from enrolling. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things have changed.

“Right now, there’s not set date of when and if a hold would go on for this next semester, but tentatively, our plan would be to allow students this semester to complete them before enrolling for next semester,” King said. “Basically, it’s just pushing it back a semester and giving students a bit more time. Especially for our new freshman coming in — it’s a lot to already handle with the pandemic, so we’re just trying to decrease any barriers that we can.”

Addie Chellberg, incoming freshman in journalism and mass communications, completed the requirements early and found it to be simpler than she expected.

“I went onto the website expecting it to be complicated or having to reach out to my doctor, but we could fill in all the information ourselves,” Chellberg said. “It was easy to upload all the required documents and dates.”

She knew she had to meet the requirements in order to take proper care of herself.

“I think vaccines are necessary,” Chellberg said. “It’s nice having peace of mind knowing that I am protecting myself and those around me.”

These requirements are an effort to keep students and faculty safe and healthy, especially while on campus and in-person.

“If you’re on campus, you would be sitting close with someone else, have interaction with someone else, so there’s that potential that illness could be transmitted between two people,” King said. “If you’re taking classes online, you’re not having any face-to-face contact with those individuals, so there’s no transmission.”