Immunization FAQ

I graduated from a California public high school. Do I have to show proof of immunizations? 

Yes, all incoming students who are enrolled at Cal Poly - including freshmen, transfers, and graduate students - must submit proof of immunizations. This includes those who graduated from a public high school in California. 

I am a Cal Poly employee. Do these requirements apply to me?

These requirements apply to all Cal Poly employees who are newly enrolled in a degree-seeking program as of Fall 2020.

I am a Quarter Plus student starting in Summer 2020. Do I have to comply with these requirements?

You will have to comply with these requirements by the first day of class of Fall quarter. You do not need to meet the requirements by the first day of the Quarter Plus program.

I/my family have concerns regarding the safety of vaccines and have chosen not to be vaccinated.  Will I be prevented from attending classes? 

Yes. These immunizations are required as part of your enrollment at California Polytechnic State University. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has identified colleges and universities as higher- risk environments because of the large number of individuals who live, study and work together in close proximity to each other. 

I was admitted to Cal Poly as an undergraduate before Fall 2020. Do I have to comply?

No.

Which students are affected by the requirement?

All incoming students with the following exceptions: a) students enrolled in fully online degree programs and b) students enrolled in non-credit, professional development/extended education programs such as Extension or Open University.

What if I have an allergy or medical contraindication to a vaccine?

You will need to download a Medical Exemption Request form, and have it completed and signed by your medical provider, then submit via mail or fax.  The Medical Exemption Request form can be found HERE.

Can I request an exemption?

Students may request a medical exemption. Medical exemptions are only for students unable to receive vaccines due to health risks. The Medical Exemption Request form is available HERE.

Please have your medical provider complete the form and upload it to the “Health and Counseling Portal” within the MyCalPoly Portal. Personal/religious exemptions are not permitted according to the CSU Executive Order 803.

Please be aware that if you request an exemption and are not vaccinated for a specific disease, you may be excluded from school for your own protection in the occurrence of an outbreak, potential epidemic or epidemic of a vaccine-preventable disease until the danger has passed.

Can I request a personal/religious belief exemption?

Personal exemptions are not permitted.  For more details, review the CSU Policy HERE.

Why is there an immunization requirement?

There has been an increase in outbreaks of vaccine–preventable illnesses over the past five to ten years, and now many illnesses that we thought were disappearing are returning. Although many of these diseases are considered “mild”, they can cause serious illness and death; for example, pertussis was responsible for hospital stays for hundreds of people in California during the past two years, including intensive care admissions and in a few cases, death. Recent outbreaks of measles also have resulted in hospitalizations, and new cases of mumps across the country threaten the health and fertility of non-immune students.

The diseases targeted by this policy include those that are spread by respiratory transmission, and therefore can pose risk to others attending classes, living in residence halls, using other university facilities or attending university events. The required vaccines and screening reflect recommendations by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for Colleges and Universities, the American College Health Association (ACHA), and the CDC Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices.

What are the consequences for not meeting the requirements?

Failure to comply by the first day of class of your first quarter may result in a registration hold which will block your enrollment in classes for the second quarter.

Why is there a Tuberculosis (TB) Risk Assessment?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that can be spread by respiratory transmission, and therefore can pose risk to others attending classes, living in residence halls, using other University facilities or attending university events. The TB clearance requirement was implemented following the recommendations of the California Department of Public Health.

What does the Tuberculosis (TB) Risk Assessment look like? 

Start by completing the TB Screening Questionnaire via the “Health and Counseling Portal” within your MyCalPoly portal. TB testing is not automatically required for incoming students, so please don't schedule or submit a TB test or chest x-ray unless specifically instructed to do so.

The TB screening questionnaire contains several questions to which you must respond "yes" or "no". Once you answered them, the form will provide you with instructions, if there are additional steps you need to take.

If you have been asked to submit the TB Medical Clearance Form, please see your medical provider for a TB test. Please submit the form to Cal Poly Campus Health & Wellbeing via fax at 805-756-5298, in person, or mail to:

Cal Poly State University
Campus Health & Wellbeing
One Grand Ave
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0210

If you require assistance answering the TB Screening questions or completing any required additional steps, contact us at 805-756-1211.

By what date do I need to show proof of immunizations and complete the Tuberculosis (TB) Risk Assessment?

This must be done before the first day of classes in your first quarter. Incoming students who have not completed this requirement by the first day of classes of their first quarter will have registration holds placed for their second quarter. To clear the registration hold, students must provide proof of immunity or receive the required immunization at least two weeks prior to registration.

Why is the Tuberculosis (TB) Risk Assessment necessary if I’ve had the BCG vaccine?

The BCG vaccine does not provide lifelong protection against Tuberculosis and is not known to be effective against adult pulmonary Tuberculosis (the most infectious kind of Tuberculosis disease), so screening and testing may still be necessary.

How do I show proof of immunizations and complete the Tuberculosis (TB) risk assessment? 

Students may fulfill immunization requirements by submitting medical documentation as proof of immunization online through the “Health and Counseling Portal” within the MyCalPoly portal. Positive laboratory evidence of immunity (titer) may also be used to prove immunization status.

The TB risk assessment can be accessed via the “Health and Counseling Portal” within the MyCalPoly portal. 

You will be able to access the “Health and Counseling Portal” within the MyCalPoly portal one day after you accepted admission.

I answered "yes" to one or more questions on the Tuberculosis Risk Assessment form. What do I do now?

Please provide proof of a negative tuberculosis screening. Proof includes results of a negative skin test (PPD) or blood test (quantiferon). The test must have been performed within the year prior to your first day of class.

Why do I need a Varicella titer if I had chickenpox?

Not everyone who has chickenpox or shingles necessarily develops Varicella immunity, so a blood titer to prove that you are "positive" for immunity is required. A doctor's note stating that you had chickenpox or shingles is not sufficient.

I did not get the Hepatitis B vaccine and I am turning 19 before the start of my second quarter. Do I still need to get the vaccine? 

If you are under 18 years of age on the first day of class of your first quarter, you will have to meet this requirement.

If I got the first dose of the MMR vaccine and have to wait to get the second dose until after it is time to register for the second term, can I get the registration hold waived?

All immunization requirements (full series) have to be completed before your second quarter.

How do I get a record of the required immunization? 

Your vaccination record provides a history of all the vaccines you received as a child and adult. These records come in different forms but the more common examples include: the "yellow" card (i.e., International Certificate of Vaccination); immunization records maintained by your primary care physician or other licensed healthcare provider either in electronic or hard copy format; and records maintained by your elementary or high school.

I have some of the required immunization, but not all.  What do I do? 

Please obtain all required vaccinations to meet the requirements. Commonly used resources are:

  • With insurance: Your community pharmacies (such as Costco Pharmacy, Vons Pharmacy, , Kaiser (for Kaiser patients), or your primary care physician
  • Without insurance: Public Health departments (see details HERE), Cal Poly Campus Health & Wellbeing pharmacy (see price list HERE)

Do I need a Varicella vaccine if I had chickenpox?

Not everyone who has chickenpox or shingles necessarily develops Varicella immunity, so a blood titer to prove that you are "positive" for immunity is required. A doctor's note stating that you had chickenpox or shingles is not sufficient. 

What immunizations and screenings am I required to show proof of? 

Please see the details below. You may also use this tool by entering your age on the first day of class.

All incoming students are required to provide proof of the following immunizations: 

  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR): Two doses with first dose on or after first birthday; OR positive titer  
  • Varicella (chickenpox): Two doses with first dose on or after first birthday; OR positive titer. 
  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap): One dose after age 7. 
  • Meningococcal conjugate (serogroups A, C, Y, & W‐135): At least one dose at age 16 or older for students up to age 23. 
  • Meningococcal B (Meningitis B): Students ages 16 - 23 must complete the series, which may be two or three doses depending on the brand of the vaccine. 
  • Hepatitis B (Hep B): Students ages 18 and younger must complete the 3-dose series. (CA Health & Safety Code, Sec. 120390.5) 
  • Tuberculosis (TB) risk assessment: All incoming students must complete a tuberculosis screening questionnaire. Incoming students who are at higher risk for Tuberculosis infection, as determined by the screening questions, should undergo testing for Tuberculosis infection within one year of entering Cal Poly. The TB risk assessment is found in your “Health & Counseling Portal” within the MyCalPoly portal.
  • Hepatitis A (Hep A): All students regardless of age. 
  • Hepatitis B (Hep B): Students ages 19 and older. 
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): For women and men through age 45. 
  • Influenza (flu): Annually for all students, regardless of age. 
  • Pneumococcal: For all students 65 or older and for students with certain medical conditions (e.g., severe asthma, diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease, sickle cell anemia). 
  • Poliovirus (polio): Regardless of age, if the series was not completed as a child.   

Some students may be further required to present documentation to other campus officials.  Students subject to this additional screening include students enrolled in dietetics, medical technology, nursing, physical therapy, student teaching, or fieldwork involving preschool-age children and/or school-age children or taking place in a hospital or health care setting.   

Programs involving international travel may require or recommend further immunizations in accordance with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines. Questions should be directed to the responsible faculty or staff member in charge of the activity. 

What does positive laboratory evidence/titer mean? 

Positive laboratory evidence is obtained by a blood test called a titer. This test shows whether you have enough antibodies in your blood to be immune to a certain disease (i.e. chickenpox/varicella, hepatitis B, or measles, mumps, and rubella). 

If the test is positive (with antibodies equal to or greater than a defined value), you have immunity for that condition. Submit that documentation as positive laboratory evidence to meet the requirements.  If the test is negative (no immunity) or equivocal (not enough immunity), you will need to be vaccinated. 

I am unable to locate my immunization record, what can I do? 

If you are unable to locate your immunization record, please reach out to your healthcare provider and/or the high school you attended. Other places you may be able to find vaccine records include the military, previous employers or other universities you may have attended. Additionally, some counties and state have immunization registries where you can look up your record.   

Ultimately, if you are unsuccessful in locating your record, you can obtain titers to show immunity.

If I get a vaccine or a titer at the Cal Poly Health Center (Campus Health & Wellbeing) will they bill my insurance? 

You pay a Health Services Fee as part of your tuition and fees which provides access to basic services at Campus Health & Wellbeing. Campus Health & Wellbeing does not accept or bill insurance, so you must pay for the vaccines you receive at the time of service. The current cost of these vaccines is available HERE. You will be provided with an itemized and appropriately coded receipt that you can submit to your insurance company in order to get reimbursed.   

What qualifies as an acceptable medical record?

A medical record should have two identifiers (i.e. patient name and date of birth) plus type, date and outcome of each vaccine/titer administered. There is no set format for these records, but it should be clear that they were prepared by a licensed medical provider.

We accept the following file types: PDF, TIFF, PNG, JPG and BMP. Normally, photos taken on a phone in one of these formats are fine, as long as all information indicated above can be seen clearly in your photos.

What if my records are in a language other than English?

Our preference is that you provide your immunization records in English. Ask your medical provider to prepare a copy of your vaccine/titer records in English (or contact a medical translation service). If we cannot interpret your records, you may be required to re-complete certain vaccines/titers.

What if the vaccine/titer is not available in my country?

You should still complete all other vaccines and/or testing and submit your documents as soon as possible but not later than the first class of your first quarter.

You may receive the outstanding vaccine(s) or titer(s) at Campus Health & Wellbeing once you are eligible for services. Walk-in services are available. Please do so promptly to avoid a registration hold for non-compliance.

You may also receive the vaccines at these local resources:

  • With insurance: Community pharmacies (such as Costco Pharmacy, Vons Pharmacy, or local primary care physician.
  • Without insurance: Public Health departments (see details HERE), Cal Poly Campus Health & Wellbeing pharmacy (see price list HERE

If you require assistance with the compliance process, please contact us at health@calpoly.edu or (805) 756-1211.

Does the International Health Insurance cover the cost of the required vaccines? 

Yes. You will pay the cost of the required vaccines and then submit a claim for 100% reimbursement to international student health insurance.

What if I cannot access the MyCalPoly portal because my country blocks access? 

Please access the “Health and Counseling Portal” within your MyCalPoly portal and submit your immunization records, as soon as you are in the U.S.

I still have questions.

We understand that this can be confusing. If you have any questions, please contact our Campus Health & Wellbeing team at (805) 756-1211 or health@calpoly.edu. We are happy to help!

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