New York State public health law requires that all college and university students taking classes on campus, regardless of credit load, provide documentation of immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) before their first term of study. Students should submit completed immunization documentation for MMR upon admission or at least 30 days prior to registering for classes. For this reason, all incoming students are placed on hold prior to their first registration.

Immunization documentation must be submitted to the Columbia Health Immunization Compliance Office:

  • In person: Immunization Office, John Jay Hall, 3rd Floor, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • By mail: Immunization Office, John Jay Hall 3rd Floor, MC 3601, 519 West 114th Street, New York, N.Y. 10027
  • By fax: (212) 854-5078

We are unable to accept health forms or immunization documentation via email for privacy and security reasons.

Please be sure to keep a copy of your fax or delivery confirmation as we cannot verify receipt of individual documents.

For questions or concerns regarding your immunization documentation, please contact us at (212) 854-7210 or email immunizationcompliance@columbia.edu.

Ways to Document Immunity

Vaccine History

Provide a certificate of immunization verifying the date of the disease, or the administered measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines. This includes documents such as:

  • A certificate from a licensed physician
  • A migrant health record
  • A union health record
  • A community health plan record
  • A military dependent's "shot" record
  • An immunization record card signed by a physician, a physician's assistant, or nurse practitioner

You must also complete the student section of the Columbia University MMR Form. All immunizations must have been received after your first birthday.

  • Live Measles: 2 doses required. Vaccines must have been administered at least 28 days apart. Measles vaccine doses administered prior to 1968 are not valid unless documentation specifically states it was a LIVE vaccine.
  • Live Mumps: 1 injection required. Vaccine was not available in the U.S. until 1/1/69, therefore no statement of immunization administered before that date is acceptable.
  • Live Rubella: 1 injection required. Vaccine was not available in the U.S. until 1/1/69, therefore no statement of immunization administered before that date is acceptable.

Please note: The MMR combined vaccination fulfills the requirement for 1 measles, 1 mumps, and 1 rubella immunization. A second measles shot is required. The MMR combined vaccine was not available in the U.S. before 1/1/72, therefore no immunizations administered before that date are acceptable for U.S. students.

Documented History of Illness

If diagnosed by a physician, a history of having had measles and/or mumps is acceptable proof of immunity. The physician or provider must enter the dates of initial diagnosis on the Columbia University MMR Form. A diagnosis of previous rubella disease is not acceptable proof of immunity under the New York State Health Code.

Immunity Proven by Serologic Testing

Immunity to all three diseases may be proven by a single blood test for antibodies. You must submit a copy of the actual laboratory report along with the completed student section of the Columbia University MMR Form.

Immunization Documentation from Another College, University, or New York State High School

Immunization records from another college or university are also acceptable. You may complete the student section of the Columbia University MMR Form and submit it along with a copy of your immunization record. Since requirements vary by state and country, your record is reviewed for compliance with New York State standards. It is important for you to maintain a copy, as often the forms are illegible or lack identifying information required to process the documentation.

Students who graduated from a high school in New York State may wish to submit their immunization certificate for review. The New York State Department of Health is encouraging high schools to provide a copy of the certificate to students when they graduate.

MMR Vaccine or Blood Test at Columbia

If you are unable to locate your immunization documentation you may receive the MMR vaccine or titer (blood) test at Columbia Health. Medical Services offers the MMR vaccine and titer (blood) test on a walk-in basis. The vaccine and blood test are provided at no cost for new students and should be completed at least 30 days prior to registering for classes. You may go to John Jay Hall (3rd Floor) Monday through Friday 9am – 3pm. No appointment is necessary. Please note the results of the blood test may take up to 3-5 business days.

For advice on determining the best course of action, you may contact the Immunization Compliance Office at (212) 854-7210 or e-mail immunizationcompliance@columbia.edu. Otherwise, please visit Columbia Health Medical Services during the hours of operation to have the vaccine or blood test.

Exemptions

Medical Exemption from the Immunization Requirements

A letter from your physician giving the specific diagnosis and/or treatment, the length of treatment, and any medications that you believe preclude further immunizations, must be submitted to the Immunization Compliance Office. After your request has been reviewed and processed, you will be notified in writing if either a temporary or permanent exemption has been granted. If a temporary exemption is given, you will be expected to complete the requirement at the exemption’s expiration.

Religious Exemption from Immunization Requirements

Most religious groups that object to immunizations will provide you with a standard form indicating such objection. You may also submit a letter detailing the religious basis of your objection. However, you may be asked to provide supporting documentation. After your request has been processed, you will be notified in writing if the exemption has been granted.

Columbia University MMR Form Instructions

Complete the student section of this form. Once your physician or health care provider has completed the form, make a copy for your records and return the original to the:

Columbia Health Immunization Compliance Office
John Jay Hall 3rd Floor, MC 3601, 519 West 114th Street
New York, N.Y. 10027

Forms may also be faxed to (212) 854-5078.

Note: We will be unable to process your form without your name, birth date, health care provider's name, and provider's signature.

 

Last updated June 15, 2016