Temple University experienced a Mumps outbreak in late March with over 100 reported cases.
Northampton has over 35,000 students in credit and non-credit programs, with this many students, is it a possibility for NCC to experience an outbreak?
Theresa Newman, Head of Health & Wellness Center, said, “Yes and NCC does have a plan if an outbreak occurs.”
Once NCC is notified that a student, staff, or faculty member has been diagnosed with a case of a vaccine-preventable disease, a campus-wide notification is sent identifying the disease and explaining appropriate next steps for affected individuals to take. Outbreaks are not uncommon in 2019 and that is due to the Anti-Vaxx movement.
The Anti-Vaxx movement has been around since the beginning of vaccinations in 1763. Some of the arguments that have floated around in the Anti-Vaxx movement is that ‘the diseases aren’t that bad’.
Newman said, “Vaccines are victims of their own success. People haven’t seen the effects of the illness which leads to fear of vaccines,” Newman said.
Newman has been working in NCC since June 2016. The Health & Wellness Center is staffed by St. Luke’s University Health Network, and she has been with St. Luke’s for 31 years.
Vaccines are not mandatory when registering to NCC but students who are in the Allied Health programs, or in the Culinary Arts major, and students who are living in the residence halls are required to be vaccinated. Vaccines are also stocked in the Health & Wellness Center and are provided at a cost for students. Newman has recommended, “Students with insurance to see their primary health care provider or go to their local pharmacies, where the cost will likely be covered by the insurance plan.”
A requirement of the law is a vaccine information sheet prior to receiving the vaccine. It describes the disease, the vaccine, who should be vaccinated, and the potential side effects and risks. Newman has recommended students research vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases on their own. She has stated that it’s important to be well informed about the benefits and risks of any medical treatment that they receive.
CDC.gov, Immunize.org, or The Vaccine Education Center were the recommendation Newman had for students to read over to be well informed.