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Ashe center offers free measles vaccines to prevent further outbreak

The UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center held a measles vaccination fair Tuesday. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Bernard Mendez

May 7, 2019 11:35 pm

Students were vaccinated against measles at a vaccination fair Tuesday.

The event, which was held by the UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, offered free measles vaccinations to students who previously were not vaccinated. Students without the University of California Student Health Insurance Plan were also able to to get the vaccinations at no cost.

The measles vaccination fair was held about two weeks after a UCLA student contracted measles as a part of a nationwide outbreak which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the largest outbreak since measles was eradicated nationally in 2000.

According to the CDC, there have been seven individual cases of measles in Los Angeles County and 764 cases nationwide in 2019.

UCLA, California State University, Los Angeles and UC Irvine are among the college campuses identified as sites for potential measles exposure. UCLA recently quarantined 127 students and faculty who could not prove they were vaccinated against measles. All students and faculty were released from quarantine May 2.

John Bollard, the chief of operations at the Ashe Center, said the event aims to help develop herd immunity at UCLA. Herd immunity occurs when the majority of people in a population are immune to a disease, preventing the disease from spreading to those who aren’t immune.

“Obviously we want a campus that’s immune,” he said. “When you have 43,000 students, 28,000 staff, the more you have vaccinated, if you drop (infected) people in on rare occasions, it doesn’t spread.”

Bollard said the Ashe Center has been working to increase awareness regarding vaccinations for students and staff. Earlier this fall, the Ashe Center held a large vaccination fair to help students verify their immunization records and receive any missing required vaccines.

Since 2016, UCLA has required all incoming students to present immunization records. Bollard said this was the first year that students had their registration placed on hold if they did not submit their immunization records.

Bollard added that it is difficult for international students to get vaccinated because many countries don’t offer measles immunizations.

Several students said they think these events will help encourage students to get vaccinated.

Karsyn Garrison, a first-year biology student, said she thinks the event is a good way to encourage unvaccinated students who cannot afford or access vaccinations to get immunized against measles.

“(UCLA is) a public place, and there’s a lot of little kids, so I’m concerned about the little kids who come with their parents,” she said. “If there’s a way (unvaccinated students) can get it for free on campus, they’re more likely to get it.”

Michael Mooc, a first-year computer science and engineering student, said he thinks unvaccinated people should seek to get immunized to protect those who cannot receive vaccines due to medical conditions or allergies.

“This shouldn’t be happening in the age of modern medicine,” Mooc said. “There’s no need for this to ever pop up again.”

Bollard said he hopes events like the fair will prevent another measles incident at UCLA.

“I’m really proud to have been a part of the UCLA response to the measles case,” Bollard said. “The fact that we have this many students and that case didn’t go beyond one case, speaks well to the fact that we have a largely immunized population.”

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Bernard Mendez | News editor
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