New Vaccination Requirements At UC, Measles Outbreak Bolsters Health Policy Reform

The University of California will begin requiring measles vaccinations for all of its 10 campuses starting in 2017. Officials insist the new policy has been in the works since before the measles outbreak stemming from Disneyland, but the flare-up does make vaccinations a more pressing matter. The UC's decision will likely become the latest debate in the anti-vaccination movement.

Just a few days ago, Pat Robertson reminisced back to the days when children were regularly infected with deadly diseases.

"You know, when I was a kid, we all got measles, we got mumps. You just got immune. But what you had to do was stay in a dark room. You couldn't read for a week or two. That was the thing."

But, the University of California is looking towards the future and hopes to make it measles-free, among other things.

According to a statement, the university system will require vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, meningococcus, tetanus, and whooping cough as well as screenings for tuberculosis in a new 2017 health plan. Currently, students are only required to receive a hepatitis B vaccination.

The announcement is well-timed. A recent measles outbreak has infected at least 100 people. As the Inquisitr reported, it started in Disneyland but has since left the state of California, with new cases breaking out across the country.

The Los Angeles Times described the measles flare-up as the worst since 2000, and it is accompanied by small outbreaks of whooping cough and other preventable diseases. The flare-ups have all been linked to dwindling vaccination use.

In 2002, slightly over 95 percent of California's population was vaccinated for the measles by kindergarten. Now it's 92 percent.

The drop may seem minuscule, but health officials warn that it can make a big difference. California's politicians are also taking action.

Governor Jerry Brown signaled that he would be open to limiting all vaccination exemptions, aside from medical considerations. California's senators, Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, made a similar call for health officials to reform the exemption policies. Nevertheless, the University of California insists it will maintain exemptions based on religion and health.

Those policies will not sit well with the growing population who do not believe in required vaccinations. In addition to Pat Robertson, politicians like Rand Paul and Chris Christie have called for parents to always have the right to choose their children's vaccinations.

Some have gone further, accusing the vaccines of causing mental problems. Jenny McCarthy became the face of the anti-vaxx movement when she said vaccines caused her son's autism.

Still, the FDA and almost all doctors recommend vaccinations for measles and other diseases, arguing that the benefits far outweigh the risks. It seems one additional benefit will be the ability to attend the University of California.

[Image Credit: Aegis Maelstrom/Wikimedia Commons]