Immunization FAQ

Common Questions

 What immunizations are necessary for students at PLNU?
  • Tetanus (Tdap must be within the last 10 years)
  • MMR-Measles, Mumps, Rubella (verification of 2 doses for students born after 1956)
  • Current Tuberculosis (TB) screening (within the past year)
  • Meningitis (Menactra) within the past 5 years
  • Hepatitis B vaccine - series of 3 doses
  • Varicella vaccine - series of 2 doses (or titer if student had disease)

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What should I do if my immunization records are lost or unavailable?

Proof of immunity through blood testing (IgG titer) is available for the MMR, Hep B, and Varicella (chickenpox). Remember, even if you’ve had the disease you may not be immune! You should follow the advice of your physician on how to proceed with required immunizations and TB testing, if there is no immunization record available to you.

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My doctor says I only need one measles immunization. Is this true?

The immunization recommendations released by the Centers for Disease Control and California Public Health Department, state that a 2-shot series of measles is required for full immunity with documented evidence for students entering college. You can obtain a blood titer to determine your immunity if you are unsure of your current status.

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Why do I need to have two mumps vaccines?

In response to an outbreak of mumps on several college campuses in 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College Health Association have strongly recommended that students entering college have proof of two doses of a mumps vaccine or MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) or proof of immunity through blood testing. The Center for Disease Control has also recommended this as a way to decrease the risk of mumps among the students and others in the community in which they reside.

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What's the difference between the Td (tetanus) and the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccines?

The Td vaccine protects you against getting tetanus and diphtheria only. The Tdap vaccine will not only protect you from those two diseases but also from pertussis (whooping cough). As a child, you may have been immunized against pertussis, but that immunity wears off over time, so by the time you enter college, you probably aren’t immune to pertussis any more. Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory illness that often leads to other more serious illness.

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In my country, a rubella immunization is required for females only. Is this true for PLNU?

Rubella immunity is required for all male and female PLNU students. Regardless of your sex, you must have a rubella immunization or a blood titer that proves immunity.

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Will you accept my mother’s word that I was immunized for measles, mumps, and rubella?

While your parents may be a reliable source of knowledge about your childhood health, we do require medically documented proof of immunity. Blood titers can also be used to prove immunity. Remember that forms cannot be signed by your parents even if they are physicians. 

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What does “documented proof” of immunity mean?

Documented proof is a written record of your immunization dates provided by a high school, university, college, or physician’s office, and/or results of laboratory blood testing.

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My blood titer was equivocal or borderline. Do I need another immunization?

Yes, because we can’t accept borderline immunity. You will need another immunization to boost your immunity.

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Does everyone have to have a tuberculosis (TB) test?

All incoming students are required to submit proof of negative TB testing (skin test or blood test), within one year prior to registration. TB testing is used to assist in the process of detecting possible exposure to tuberculosis. In order to reduce risk and incidence of tuberculosis, the Center for Disease Control recommends that a TB skin test is used as a baseline approach to identifying such individuals who may be carriers. 

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Does it matter what kind of TB test I have?

Yes. Either one of the following TB tests is acceptable:

1) A skin test known as a PPD or Mantoux Testing

2) A blood test known as QuantiFERON TB-Gold test

We can’t accept multiple puncture tests such as tine, HEAF, Monovac, etc.

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How should the PPD TB test reaction be documented?

TB test reaction must be documented in millimeters and signed by a physician or nurse. The test must be read within 48 to 72 hours after it’s placed. We cannot accept a simple reading of positive or negative.

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I have received BCG in the past. Do I still need a TB test?

BCG is an immunization given in some countries (not the U.S.) for TB. Individuals that have received a BCG do not have an accurate TB skin test - it may be falsely positive. Therefore, only the Quantiferon TB-Gold blood test is acceptable for individuals who have received the BCG vaccine.  

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Can I have a chest X-ray instead of a Mantoux TB test?

You can only substitute a chest X-ray if a previous Mantoux TB test was positive with an indurated reaction of 10mm or greater. Otherwise, you must get a Mantoux TB skin test or a Quantiferon blood test.

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I am not able to get a Mantoux TB test in my country. What should I do?

Please call PLNU Wellness Center for advice at 619-849-2574 or fax 619-849-2574 or email

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Do I need the Hepatitis B immunization if I’m married?

Yes. The hepatitis B immunization is required by law for all newly entering undergraduate, transfer, and readmitted students, regardless of age, gender, or marital status.

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How many shots are there for the Hepatitis B immunization?

Hepatitis B involves a series of 3 injections. The first 2 injections must be administered at least 28 to 60 days apart. The 3rd injection must be administered at least six months after the 1st injection.

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Can I receive the Hepatitis B shots at PLNU Wellness Center?

You should receive the first 2 injections before coming to PLNU. If you don’t have time to complete the 3rd injection at home, you can arrange to receive it at the Wellness Center after you arrive at PLNU.  Since this is a pre-entry requirement, the fee for the vaccine will not be covered by your PLNU Student Health Plan.