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Information About Vaccines

Student Health Services' healthcare providers administer many vaccinations and screenings on campus. What's the difference between vaccinations and immunizations? The CDC explains vaccination as the act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce protection from a specific disease. Immunization is when a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination. The words can be interchangeable with inoculable. Schedule an appointment today via Monarch Wellness Portal if you need any required vaccinations or recommended screenings.

If you're looking for ODU's Immunization Requirements for enrollment, please click here.

Vaccine Information

Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus (DPT) (Td) (Required)

Tetanus (lockjaw), Diphtheria, and Pertussis (whooping cough) are caused by bacteria -- Diphtheria and Pertussis spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds. Most young adults have completed a primary series against these diseases, but boosters for Diphtheria and Tetanus are needed every 10-years to maintain protection.

We offer Tetanus/Diphtheria (Td) and new Tetanus/Diphtheria/Acellular Pertussis (Tdap or ADACEL) vaccines for students at a cost. There have been some outbreaks of Pertussis (whooping cough) recently in the U.S. therefore, the CDC recommends everyone over 11-years-old (and less than 65) receive one booster dose of the new Tdap vaccine. This should be given when they are due for their next Tetanus/Diphtheria booster, it may be given sooner.* The goal is to boost adolescent and adult immunity to Pertussis with this new one-time vaccine. Adults should continue to get the Td booster every 10-years.

*Referance: What You Need to Know About Tdap.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) (Required)

All college students born after 1956 are required to provide evidence of having received 2-doses of the MMR vaccine. Most young adults have had these before starting elementary school. A blood test to check for immunity is also acceptable if documentation is uncertain or unavailable.

Measles virus causes rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever. It can lead to pneumonia, brain damage, and death.

Mumps virus causes fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen glands. It can lead to deafness, meningitis, painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, infertility, and rarely death. There has recently been a large outbreak of mumps in the Midwestern U.S.*

Rubella (German Measles) virus causes a rash and mild fever. If a woman gets rubella during pregnancy, it can cause severe birth defects and possibly miscarriage.

We offer the MMR vaccine for students at a cost.

*Referance: MMR Vaccine. What Everyone Should Know.


Polio is rare in the U.S. but is a risk for unprotected travelers to high incidence areas. Boosters are given as needed for travel to these areas. Check with your local international travel clinic or see the Centers for Disease Control website. Scroll down to the section labeled "Traveler Information."

Varicella Vaccine (Chickenpox)

*Optional but highly recommended if no history of disease or previous vaccination.

Varicella or chickenpox is a highly contagious viral illness that causes a classic rash, fever, itching, and fatigue. It can be serious with infants and adults if they develop secondary bacterial infections, pneumonia, or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Seven percent of all cases are among adults age 20 or older.

Currently, children are immunized between 12 and 18 months; however, the vaccine can be given at any age. For adults, the vaccine is given in 2 doses one month apart. It is available at the local health department.

*Referance: About Chickenpox

Hepatitis B Vaccine (Required)

Hepatitis B Vaccine is required for all full-time students enrolled for the first time in any four-year public institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Acute Hepatitis B is a viral infection of the liver which causes abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, muscle or joint pain, fatigue, and jaundice. In some people, the infection can become chronic and lead to liver damage, cancer, or death.

The infection (virus) is spread through contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person. The most common routes of transmission are unprotected sex, being stuck with a used needle or sharing needles to inject illegal drugs, and during childbirth from an infected mother to her baby.

Hepatitis B vaccine is routinely given during infancy as a series of 3 shots. (There is a 2 dose regimen of Recombivax specifically approved for adolescents age 11 - 15.) We offer the Hepatitis B vaccine at cost for students. If a student chooses not to receive this vaccine, a waiver must be signed.

*Referance: Hepatitis B Vaccine. What You Need To Know.

Tuberculosis Screening Policy

All entering first-time, full-time students (undergraduate, graduate, and transfer) are required to complete a Tuberculosis Risk Assessment on their Health History Form.

Each student determined to be part of an at-risk population for tuberculosis must present the results of a tuberculosis skin test (Mantoux PPD) within two months prior to matriculation at Old Dominion University.

Students with a history of a prior positive TB skin test must submit a chest x-ray report within two months prior to matriculation or documentation of completion of a course of preventive therapy.

International students in University or English Language Center classes from countries that have a high incidence or prevalence of tuberculosis (as determined by the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, or American College Health Association) must be screened.

Designation of other students into high-risk groups will be determined through a review of the Tuberculosis Risk Assessment designed to elicit pertinent medical information regarding risk factors for and or symptoms of active tuberculosis.

Any student with symptoms of active tuberculosis will be required to be tested immediately. Students who are not in compliance with the policy will be referred to the Dean of Students.

If uncertain whether you are part of an at-risk population for tuberculosis, review the "Tuberculosis Screening of College and University Students" from the American College Health Association website.

Flu Shots (Influenza Vaccine)

Influenza is a viral illness that occurs during the winter months from November until April. Symptoms of the flu are fever, cough, chills, sore throat, headache, and muscle aches. It takes about one to two weeks after vaccination for antibodies against influenza to develop and provide protection. Studies of healthy young adults have shown the influenza vaccine to be 70 to 90 percent effective in preventing the flu.

In the elderly and those with certain chronic medical conditions, the vaccine is often less effective in preventing illness than reducing the severity of illness and the risk of serious complications and death. It is strongly recommended that individuals with asthma, diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease, anemia, or without a spleen receive the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is also recommended for college students living in residence halls or anyone who wishes to reduce their risk of getting the flu.

The Side Effects of Vaccination

The most frequent side effect of the vaccination is soreness of the arm around the site for up to two days. About 5-10 percent of people receiving the vaccine experience mild side effects, such as headache or a low-grade fever for about a day after vaccination. In addition, these types of severe reactions have rarely occurred:

  1. Immediate allergic reactions including hives or asthmabreathing difficulty.

  2. Guillain-Barre Syndrome. This is a rare illness with paralysis, which is usually self limited and reversible. This was associated only with the 1976 swine flu vaccine.

For more information, visit the CDC website.

If you would like to read the vaccine information statement in another language, click here.

Why Take The Vaccine Every Year?

Although only a few different influenza viruses circulate at any given time, these viruses are continually changing as a result of mutations in the viral genes. Each year, the vaccine contains killed viruses from three strains expected to be prevalent during the flu season.

Who Should Not Take The Vaccine?

  1. Anyone who is sick right now with anything more serious than a cold.

  2. Anyone with a history of allergy to chicken egg or other components of the vaccine (thimerosal-a mercury derivative).

  3. Anyone with a past history of Guillain-Barre syndrome.

  4. Anyone taking medications, Warfarin or Theophylline, needs to know this vaccine may inhibit the clearance of these medications. Studies have failed to show any adverse clinical effects attributable to these drugs in patients receiving influenza vaccine.

  5. Anyone taking immunosuppressive drugs may not get the antibody response needed for protection against influenza.

  6. Pregnant women should consult their obstetrician about indications for the vaccine.

When To Get Vaccinated?

Student Health Services usually begins offering flu vaccine in October or November, as soon as the vaccine is available.

How Much Does The Flu Vaccination Cost?

See the Billing & Insurance page for more information. You can receive your flu shot by calling Student Health Services for an appointment at 757-683-3132.

Meningococcal Vaccine (Required)

The Meningococcal Vaccine is required for all full-time students entering college in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This vaccine offers about 90% protection against four of the bacteria which cause Meningococcal Meningitis and blood infections. This is a very serious disease and 10 - 15% of those infected dies despite treatment with antibiotics. College freshmen who live in dormitories have an increased risk of getting Meningococcal disease.

Three Meningococcal vaccines are available in the U.S. Menveo (MCV4) or Menactra (MCV4) are the preferred vaccine for people 11 - 55 years of age but Menamune (MPSV4) can be used for equivalent protection. Student Health Services offers Menveo at cost. Two doses of MCV4 are recommended for adolescents 11 through 18 years of age: the first dose at 11 or 12 years of age, with a booster dose at age 16. If a student chooses not to receive this vaccine or declines the booster at age 16, a waiver must be signed.

*Referance: About The Disease.

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