FAQs for Health Sciences Students

General Vaccine Questions

1. What if I am unable to obtain documentation for my childhood vaccines?

If official documentation is not obtainable from your physician’s office, primary or secondary school, or military records, you will be required to:

  • Receive two-step TB testing OR IGRA testing.
  • Receive the Tdap vaccine.
  • Have blood titers drawn for Mumps, Rubeola, and Rubella.
  • Have a Hepatitis B titer drawn if you have completed the Hepatitis B vaccine series.
  • Have a Varicella titer drawn if you had the chickenpox disease. If you have not had chickenpox, you must have 2 doses of Varicella vaccine.

2. Can I get immunizations and titers at Student Health?

Yes. Student Health provides immunization services during walk-in immunization hours. Students will pay out-of-pocket for the cost of vaccines and blood titers

If you have a latex allergy or prior allergy to vaccine components, please contact Student Health prior to your clinic visit to discuss vaccine options with a registered nurse.

3. How do you communicate with me regarding follow-up?

VCU Student Health Services utilizes secure messaging to protect your personal information. A secure email will be sent through your VCU email account notifying you that a message is available. You will need to login to the VCU Student Health Web Portal to read your message. Please do not ignore these messages as they contain important information about your immunization status.

4. How do I know if VCU has received my immunization records?

Records received by Student Health are entered into your Student Health Web Portal health record. If you are unsure of the status of receipt, please log in to the Student Health Web Portal to verify receipt. You may also view and print your immunization record from the Web Portal at any time.

5. I need a copy of my immunization records. What should I do?

Keep a copy of your immunization forms with your important papers prior to submitting paperwork to Student Health. You may also view and/or print your immunization records by accessing the Student Health Web Portal

6. I need my off-site rotation paperwork completed. What should I do?

Student Health is available to help you complete your off-site rotation paperwork. Please complete as much of your paperwork as possible before the visit. Make an appointment with the clinic nurse to review your records and forms for completion and signature. Call (804) 828-9220 for the VCU Medical Campus or (804) 828-8828 for the Monroe Park Campus.


Specific Vaccine Questions

Chickenpox

If I had chickenpox, do I need a Varicella titer?

Yes, VCU’s policy states that if a student had chickenpox, a Varicella titer is required. If the titer is positive, no further action is needed. If the Varicella titer is negative, you will need 2 doses of Varicella vaccine.

If you were vaccinated against chickenpox disease, you will need documentation of 2 doses of vaccine OR a positive Varicella titer.  A titer drawn after vaccination is not required.

Hepatitis B

What are the Hepatitis B requirements?

VCU currently requires 3 doses of Hepatitis B vaccine AND serological evidence of immunity.

What if my Hepatitis B titer is negative?

If your Hepatitis B titer is negative, you will need to be revaccinated according to the current recommendations from the CDC.  Once you complete the recommended doses, you will receive another titer 30-60 days later (CDC Healthcare Personnel Vaccinations Recommendations, 3/2015).

If your titer is still negative after the 3 additional doses of Hepatitis B vaccine, contact University Student Health Services to discuss your follow-up options.  If you are considered a non-responder, you will need to be counseled on the risks of blood and body fluid exposures.

Meningitis

What is the requirement for the meningitis vaccine?

While we strongly encourage all students to protect themselves against meningitis, you may opt out of this vaccine by signing the Meningitis Vaccine Waiver found on your VCU Health Sciences Certificate of Immunization form.

MMR

Do I have to get a MMR titer if I have documentation of two vaccines?

At this time, VCU does not require a MMR titer if you have documentation of 2 doses of MMR vaccine administered after your first birthday and spaced at least 28 days apart.

If you do not have documentation of 2 doses, you will be required to submit titer results. If the titer is negative, 1 or 2 booster doses of the vaccine will be required; this will be based on the titer results for each of the 3 diseases (Measles, Mumps & Rubella).

Please note that some off-site rotations require MMR titers, so you may need to have a titer drawn at a later date.

Polio

What is the requirement for Polio vaccine?

State law requires polio vaccine documentation for students 18 years of age and under. Documentation is also required for international students from countries where wild polio virus still exists. If a student is from Afghanistan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Isreal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, or Syria, documentation of the polio vaccine primary series is required.

Tuberculosis

What is a two-step TB test, and do I need it?

two-step TB test requires having one TB test administered and read, then a second test administered and read 7-30 days later. If you have had annual TB testing done consecutively for the last 5 years, you can submit these testing dates and results in place of the two-step TB testing requirement.

What is an IGRA test for TB?

In lieu of a two-step TB test, you may opt to have the one-visit, one-step IGRA test. This is a blood test specific to the TB mycobacteria. If the test is negative, no further action is required until your annual TB screening is due.

What if my TB test is positive?

You will be required to have a chest x-ray to rule out active TB disease. You may discuss your results with a clinic nurse by calling the Immunization Help Desk at (804) 827-8047 during regular business hours. Once your information is reviewed, we can help you with the next steps and discuss annual requirements.

What if I have a history of a positive TB test?

If you have a history of positive TB skin test or IGRA, you will need to complete a TB symptom survey annually. You will need to submit a chest x-ray result dated within the prior six months of an August 1 start date.

If you were treated for latent TB infection (LTBI), please submit your treatment documentation.