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Vaccination clinic to be held

By Eric Richard

The Medical Department will hold a vaccination clinic on Jan. 29 to provide MIT students with measles, mumps and rubella immunizations, as required by a new Massachusetts state law.

The law, which was passed by the state legislature early last year and went into effect on Sept. 1, requires colleges to ensure that all students have received a second dose of the measles vaccination.

According to Mark A. Goldstein, chief of Student Health Services, the Medical Department checked to see that students entering in 1990 and 1991 had a second dose of the measles vaccine before they were able to register. However, students in previous classes were allowed to register without the booster immunization.

The change in the law has forced the Medical Department to look into the medical files of all students to check for proper vaccinations. Students who do not meet the new criteria were sent letters to inform them of the change in policy and to request that they be immunized as soon as possible. As many as 2500 letters were sent to students to notify them of the deficiencies in their immunization records, said a student hired to sort through medical files.

"The Medical Department was notified of the new law in June of 1991, and by August we had sent out letters to all students needing new immunizations," Goldstein said. "Response to that mailing was limited. We had a one-day clinic in September and served five to eight hundred students," he added.

Since the initial mailing, the Medical Department has sent out a reminder notice informing students of their medical needs. "Response to this letter has been better, with a steady turnout of students," Goldstein said. "In fact, there has been a wait of up to a few weeks for appointments to receive immunizations."

In order to provide a large number of immunizations, the Medical Department will hold

a second clinic on Jan. 29.

Dr. Goldstein hopes that the clinic will provide "rather quick" immunizations for "all students who still need them."

During the clinic, only a combination of all three vaccinations will be issued to speed up the process and meet the needs of all students with one shot. The MMR vaccination costs $20 and is not covered by the MIT student health insurance plan.

According to the letter sent to students, those not complying with the Medical Department's requests by "early spring" will be subject to an $80 fine and may face possible de-registration.