Ohio State to require vaccinations for incoming students

By Kim Palmer (Reuters) - Incoming students at Ohio State University's Columbus campus will be required to provide proof of vaccinations for measles and a number of other communicable diseases starting in August, a school spokesman said on Friday. Ohio State will continue to allow the roughly 12,000 new students to seek vaccination exemptions based on religious, medical or philosophical grounds similar to those in Ohio elementary and secondary schools, spokesman Gary Lewis said. The university will require proof of vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and chicken pox, Lewis said. All U.S. states require certain vaccines for students but at least 20 extend exemptions for a range of personal beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A mumps outbreak at the university a year ago spread to outlying areas, reaching nearly 500 people. By comparison, Franklin County, which includes the university's Columbus home, typically sees one reported mumps case a year. The university's policy change was made after consultations with federal, state, city and school experts, Lewis said. Ohio does not require vaccinations to enroll in a university and vaccination reporting will not be required for returning students, students at satellite campuses or staff and faculty. All students planning to live in campus housing will be required to provide proof of a meningitis vaccination, Lewis said. (Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Editing by David Bailey and Mohammad Zargham)