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UMass Boston opens measles vaccination clinic, but students unfazed

Posted by Cara Bayles  March 2, 2011 06:30 PM

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UMass Boston has set up a clinic offering the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination, after the school announced Tuesday that one of its faculty members may have measles.

Several suspected cases of measles have been reported to the Boston Public Health Commission in the past month, and two have been confirmed.

Kathleen McAndrew, executive director of health services at UMass Boston, said that the city gave 90 doses of the vaccine to UMass, and 15 patients had been vaccinated since the clinic opened Wednesday morning. Because the school requires that students be inoculated when they enroll, most of the patients have been faculty and staff, who are encouraged to get a shot if they are unsure of their immunity.

“I certainly know I haven’t been vaccinated in the last 15-20 years. Rather than wait for a blood test, I figured it was safer to get the shot,” said Roni Lipton, the associate director of graduate programs at UMass’ McCormack Graduate School, who got her free inoculation today. “I’m fairly certain that I didn’t have direct contact with the professor who has it, but I was aware that measles are highly contagious, and airborne, so if we were in the cafeteria at the same time, I could have been exposed.”

Bianca Baldassarre, a UMass freshman, seemed unfazed by the announcement the university sent out a campus-wide email alerting students, faculty and staff last night.

“I’ve never really heard of someone getting measles,” she said. “I feel like it’s something you’d hear about during the Great Depression. … I’m not really worried about it.”

McAndrew said campus health staff had been kept busy fielding more than 200 calls to their hotline about measles.

“The phone doesn’t stop ringing,” she said. “Everyone’s been calling and asking, ‘What does this mean for me? What’s going on?’ … I think it’s a positive sign. It means people know they can come to us with questions.”

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