Immunizations and Immunity

What immunizations do I need?

A complete list of required immunizations is on the 2024-2025 New Student Vaccination and Tuberculin form. MIT has specific requirements for measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, pertussis, diphtheria, hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, and varicella (chicken pox). MIT bases its requirements on guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 

What does “documented proof” of immunity mean?

“Documented proof” means a written record of your immunization dates or a copy of your official immunization record provided by your high school, university, college, or physician’s office, or state registry. If lab work was obtained, a copy of the lab test results must be submitted. 

What should I do if my immunization records are lost or unavailable?

You can have special blood tests called “antibody titers” to show that you have immunity to measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, and Hepatitis B. But you’ll still need to get a tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Tdap) booster, and, if you’re in the higher-risk group, a Mantoux TB test for tuberculosis. 

My doctor says I only need one measles immunization. Is this true?

No. Based on guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, MIT requires proof of two measles immunizations, both administered after January 1, 1968, at least one month apart, and after your first birthday. 

Why do I need two mumps vaccines?

After an outbreak of mumps on several college campuses in 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College Health Association began strongly recommending that students entering college have proof of two doses of a mumps or MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine or proof of immunity through blood testing. This is also part of the guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 

What's the difference between the Td and the Tdap vaccines?

The Td vaccine protects you only against getting tetanus and diphtheria. The Tdap vaccine protects not only against those two diseases, but also against pertussis (whooping cough) — a highly contagious respiratory illness that often leads to other, more serious, illness. You may have been immunized against pertussis as a child, but by the time you enter college, your immunity has probably worn off.

In my country, a rubella immunization is required only for females. Is this true for MIT?

No. Rubella immunity is required for both male and female students. All MIT students must have a rubella immunization or a blood titer that proves immunity. 

Will you accept my parent or guardian’s word that I was immunized for measles, mumps, and rubella?

No. We require medically documented proof of immunity — either documentation of immunization or blood titers that show immunity. 

How many vaccinations are required for the hepatitis B immunization series?

Two or three doses depending on what brand of vaccine you have received. Currently, Hepislav-B is the only approved two-dose series. Both doses must have been received after 2017, and you must have been 18 years of age and older when you received them. 

The result of my blood titer was “equivocal” or “borderline.” Do I need another immunization?

Yes. You will need another immunization to boost your immunity. 

What do I do if the result of my blood titer is too low?

You will need another immunization to boost your immunity. If you are an incoming HST student, you also will need a second blood titer one month later. The second blood titer must show sufficient immunity. 

What if I cannot take vaccines for medical reasons?

Complete and return the vaccine exemption form, and submit a letter from your medical provider that explains why you cannot receive immunizations. 

What will happen to me if there is a local outbreak of a communicable disease to which I am not vaccinated?

If campus medical officials deem you susceptible to contracting the disease, you will be excluded from all activities on campus, including, but not limited to, residence, dining, academic, lab work, and athletics. You will not be allowed to return to campus until the risk of contracting the disease is over. 

What if I’m unable to complete all the requirements before arriving at MIT?

You can complete the requirements at MIT Health. Schedule an appointment with the Student Health Clinic when you arrive.