Not Vaccinated-In Need of Advice

  1. My parents decided to stop taking me in for vaccinations after I turned two. My mother had read books about the risks involved and decided that she did not want to take the risk. I respect her decision and I have never had any serious health issues, other than chicken pox when I was eight. Neither have any of my four brothers. I've never felt the need to get vaccinations, but I have decided I want to be a nurse. I am a first-year pre-nursing student, so this hasn't come up yet, but I know it will when I begin to apply to schools next fall. I know that I need to be vaccinated and I need the flu shot (which I also have never gotten). I am just a little nervous/scared. I don't know which vaccinations are required, and I don't know who to turn to for advice. Does anyone know what my requirements are and who I am supposed to call? Is there a chance I could get really sick since I've gone eighteen years without those injections into my system? How soon do I need to have these injections done? My mother still does not believe in vaccines so I have to figure this out on my own.

    I sincerely appreciate any advice you have to offer. Please, no judgement in the commentary, I have only told a handful of people about my lack of vaccinations because it is typically met with aggressive condescension. Thank you.
  2. Visit scouteb profile page

    About scouteb

    Joined: Dec '17; Posts: 2


  3. by   Rose_Queen
    It would be best to have a conversation with your health care provider to determine things like timing and what to get when.

    To find out what is required, try reaching out to an advisor if the school you are at now has a nursing program or an advisor of the program(s) you are planning to apply for.
  4. by   scouteb
    Thank you! I will take your advice
  5. by   Cjandmavsmom
    Most schools require you to have vaccinations or titers before you start clinicals. Some will let you fill out an exemption but usually it is up to the clinical site on whether they are cool with it and you may have to use an alternate clinical site or risk none wanting you there. I would talk to the program advisor about that. It may be worth it to go get titers drawn to see if you have antibodies already. You probably will for chicken pox so you will hopefully not have to get that vaccination but could have been exposed to others and not known. I have antibodies for hep B but have never had the disease (I cant donate blood because of it though). Good luck!
  6. by   xxstarrynitesxx
    Like the others mentioned, check with the program you are trying to get into in particular in addition to your health care provider. You can also inquire about any potential risks to you. I would also recommend going to the health services. One of my friends had an issue figuring out the vaccinations she needed and the wonderful health services people knew exactly which ones she needed for the program at our school.
  7. by   herwitsend
    Before you get any vaccines, you could have titers drawn. Chances are you have immunity to some childhood diseases (like chicken pox since you had it as a child) and may not need them all. Once you have titers drawn, your physician can direct you as to which vaccines you need and when.

    Your chosen program will probably have a deadline to have them done, or proof that you are in the process of getting them done.

    Don't worry about adverse reactions. They are few and far between (apart from muscle soreness).
  8. by   hurricanekat
    I would start on this sooner rather than later. I assume that you still live at home and you are going to need to figure out how to pay for whatever it is that you end up doing. Chances are even if your parents have you on their insurance - you can't use the insurance because your parents will find out and get angry. So a couple things....
    1) is your mom reasonable? My daughter (who is 19) and I don't always see eye to eye, but I respect her choices even when they are different from mine and would willingly help her even if it wasn't what I wanted her to do. I would of course make her listen to my side of reason one last time, but if this is what she wanted/needed for her future I would help her. I understand that not every parent/child relationship is this way - and if you don't feel your mom would be this way then lets move on.
    2) start with your local health department - this is usually labeled as the "County" Health Department or "City" Health Department where you live. Sometimes shots are free here or very low cost. Even if they aren't - the nurse there should be helpful in guiding you to local resources that are either free or based on income.
    3) If that isn't a good enough resource - go to your local high school and speak with the school nurse there. Just explain the situation to her and ask for guidance. You could probably ask the nursing coordinator at the school you plan to attend as well - that person may actually be your best bet.

    Hopefully - you will find a confidant in one of those places to guide you through this. Its scary when you don't know how things work. I've been vaccinated but have moved so much - I don't have a clue where any of my records are, so I'm going to need to do some of this for myself as well. I was opposed to giving my daughter the chicken pox vaccine but it came out right before her kindergarten year and I didn't feel there was enough information available at the time (like was a booster needed and if so when... things like that) but I didn't have the option of saying no. I either gave it to her or she couldn't go to school. Eventually I pulled her and homeschooled her - but not for vaccinations.

    I agree with being tested but paying for titers is another story. Hopefully you will find a local nurse that can guide you to a place that you can afford. Keep in mind that you can request some extra student loan money to help cover the cost of this as well. It is a school expense so don't think twice about using the money for those expenses.

    Good Luck!!
  9. by   lehaley1989
    Quote from hurricanekat
    I would start on this sooner rather than later.
    I second this. While you could definitely try for exemption, most clinical sites want their student nurses to be fully vaccinated and I suspect you may run into problems with this. I would recommend getting titers drawn, then starting any necessary vaccinations sooner rather than later. You may be able to find a list of the vaccinations that your program requires on their website, or you might need to call and speak to someone from the department.

    Proof of being fully vaccinated was a requirement for starting my CNA course, which was a pre-requisite to the nursing program. I was fully vaccinated as a child, but couldn't get my hands on my immunization records. I had titers drawn and discovered that some of my vaccinations hadn't stuck. I had to get several injections with large waiting periods between them, which delayed me starting my CNA course, which then delayed my nursing program start date. I definitely wish I had started looking into things earlier.
  10. by   emmjayy
    Agree with everyone here about getting started early. My mom never got me the Hep B vaccine because it was new and she didn't trust it back when I was born (turns out that a lot of kids born in the early 90's got a Hep B vaccine that didn't "take," weirdly enough, so a ton of people in my program had to get the series again!) Anyway. It was during the course of getting the Hep B series for nursing school that I learned that completing a vaccination series can take several months! You have a lot of vaccines you're going to need, so giving yourself time to get through all of them will help.

    If you're over 18, your mom definitely can't say anything about your choice to get vaccinated. Just make an appointment somewhere and get the ball rolling. You don't need to know everything about vaccines, just go in and tell the doctor that you've never had any and they will know what to do. If you're worried about insurance billing, tell the doctor it needs to remain confidential.

    As for the flu vaccine, I had never had it before I started nursing school either! You have to get a new one every year, so it's not like you've hurt yourself by not getting it. Also, I have never gotten sick after that vaccine. There's this urban legend that getting the flu vaccine will mean you are going to get the flu immediately after, but if that were true the entire hospital I work at would be calling in sick all at once because most of us get vaccinated on the same day at the hospital's flu clinic.
  11. by   Mavrick
    Every employer I have ever had has required proof of vaccination or titers. So even if you sneak by in clinicals you won't get a job.
  12. by   Clear Gummy Bear
    This is what I found from UC Davis. I have no idea what state you live in or what school you are planning to attend. However, I would imagine the guidelines for the required vaccines are somewhat uniform around the country.

    Vaccination and screening requirements and recommendations are adopted from the California Department of Public Health's (CDPH) immunization and screening recommendations for college students effective February 9, 2016. NOTE that revisions to the CDPH recommendations will be reflected in UC requirements for the subsequent academic term.
    Required Vaccinations:

    Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
    Varicella (chickenpox)
    Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap)
    Meningococcal conjugate-- (Serogroups A, C, Y, and W-135)
    Screening for tuberculosis

    UC strongly recommends the following vaccinations:

    Human papillomavirus vaccine for women and men through age 26 years
    Hepatitis B vaccine for all students regardless of age
    Meningococcal conjugate for students up to age 23
    Meningococcal B for students ages 16-23 who elect vaccination after discussion with their healthcare provider

    Other Recommended Vaccines:

    Influenza vaccine (annual)
    Hepatitis A vaccine
    Pneumococcal vaccine for students with certain medical conditions e.g., severe asthma, diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease
    Poliovirus vaccine (if series not completed as a child)
    Vaccines for international travel, based on destination

    Get the lab work done at the office and go from there. It's not like how it was when we were younger. There are tons of combo shots. Most shots have to be spaced out so be wary, because this could possibly set you back a bit.

    Good luck!
  13. by   DowntheRiver
    You probably received the Hep B series before you were two years old so have that titer drawn; you can lose immunity to Hep B over time, but it is worth a shot) literally. You more than likely will have immunity to varicella, so get that titer as well. The only others that you will need then are MMR, TdaP, and probably the flu (yearly). Like previous posters have said, you most likely will need these for employment in a hospital system even if you scoot by during nursing school. For my current hospital system working in Oncology, I HAD to have Hep B, MMR, Varicella, Flu, and TdaP - if I didn't have them, I was allowed to complete the series on the hospital's dime after they drew titers to see if I had immunity. Lucky for me, I had worked for the HD a year prior and they had updated all my vaccines. However, if I refused the vaccines the job offer would be rescinded. Just the way it is sometimes, unfortunately.
    If you need help with funds for vaccines, reach out to your local Health Department. I used to run a vaccine program in Florida where if you were under a certain age, had no insurance or was on Medicaid/Medicare, I could give you those vaccines for free. That included MMR and Tdap AND it is a federal program so definitely see if they have that program or a similar one in your area.
  14. by   rob95
    Its a requirement by all Nursing Programs that you be vaccinated prior to beginning clinical rotations. Without the vaccines, you will be unable to begin the clinical portion of the program. The typical vaccines include: DPT, MMR, Polio, Hepatitis B, Chicken Pox, Flu Shot and a 2 step TB Test. Like the people above mentioned, starting sooner than later is essential because if you need additional shots (due to the titer results) you have to wait weeks in between getting them.