Students Must Receive Mumps Vaccine on Maine Campus

PORTLAND, Maine – The University of Southern Maine has banned hundreds of students from its campuses who have not received mumps vaccinations.

After two cases of the mumps virus were verified on the campus, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued an emergency order to the 5,996 full-time and residential students to submit proof of having taken a second vaccination for the disease.

The deadline for students to provide verification of taking the immunization shot was scheduled for Dec. 5. Students were notified of the deadline through E-mail and letters. For students who did not turn in their records, the university deactivated their identification cards, causing those students to lose access to the dining halls and dormitories.

College students are required to have one mumps immunization under Maine law. The shot is normally taken during childhood. When the two cases were discovered on campus, university officials deemed it necessary for students to receive a second vaccination in order to prevent the highly contagious virus from spreading throughout the campus.

Students who do not comply with the new order will not be allowed to enter their classes until they received the vaccination. A list of affected students was handed out to professors, who have been directed to send students on the list home if they enter the classroom.

Director of University Health and counseling Kristine A. Bertini said the university issued 800 vaccinations. The health records on campus show nearly 300 students who have not received the second shot as of Dec. 7.

Students who are medically exempt, such as those who are allergic to the shot, are allowed to attend classes. The 20 students who refused the vaccine due to personal or religious reasons have been asked to stay away from the campus for 18 days.

According to Bertini, college students are at a major risk of contracting the virus, which is spread through respiratory contact.

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