On your summer college checklist: Get your vaccination paperwork up to date and submit it

Heidi Finley

Photo by UNC Asheville

Gearing up for college in the fall? One thing every Carolina college student must do is provide proof of vaccinations or seek approval for an exemption.

In North Carolina, state law requires the same immunizations for students of every public and private college and university, according to the Health and Human Services Department. Exemptions on medical or religious grounds require that additional paperwork be submitted to the college or university.

The law applies to all students except those living off-campus and registering for online courses only, night or weekend classes, and those taking no more than 4 credit hours on campus during the day. If any of those statuses change, immunization records must be presented before registering for classes.

Students going to any college or university in North Carolina need:

  • 3 dTap doses (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis; one dose must be after 2005)
  • 3 polio doses if under 18
  • 2 measles doses
  • 2 mumps doses
  • 1 rubella dose (often given as part of a combination with measles and mumps)
  • 3 Hepatitis B doses

For more information, visit immunize.nc.gov and the individual school’s website.

At UNC Chapel Hill, the general deadline to submit immunizations and medical history forms is June 15. Records can also be submitted throughout the summer, but students will be withdrawn from the university if the information isn’t in 30 days after classes start.

UNC also requires health sciences students to get extra vaccines, such as those for varicella (chicken pox) and influenza.

Additionally, the university recommends that students also get vaccinated for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), influenza, meningitis, pneumonia and varicella.

At North Carolina State University, failure to provide immunization documents results in cancelled enrollment. If immunization requirements are met afterward, a re-enrollment fee of $150 is charged.

Eastern Carolina University recommends its students also get vaccinated for meningococcal disease, pneumococcal disease, HPV, influenza, Hepatitis A and varicella. It seeks vaccine paperwork before students arrive on campus.

At Western Carolina University, vaccine paperwork must be submitted before a student can register for classes.

South Carolina colleges and universities

In South Carolina, each college or university makes its own requirements.

The University of South Carolina requires:

  • 2 doses of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
  • 1 meningococcal (meningitis) vaccine for students 21 and under

Students who have arrived within the past five years from certain countries are also required to have a tuberculosis screening.

USC also recommends the Gardasil vaccine for HPV, and immunizations for Hepatitis A and B, varicella and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis).

Exemptions are available for medical conditions, religious beliefs and those enrolled only in online courses.

Immunization records are due before a student’s orientation date; you can’t register for classes without them. For more detailed information, visit USC’s Immunization Requirements page.

Clemson University requires:

  • 2 MMR doses
  • Tdap
  • meningococcal vaccine (a booster is required if the student’s meningococcal dose was given before age 16)

A tuberculosis test is also required for any student who has lived or traveled outside the United States for more than two weeks in the past five years or has other tuberculosis risk factors noted on a tuberculosis risk assessment screening that is mandatory for all students.

Clemson recommends its students also get two doses of Hepatitis A and three doses of Hepatitis B vaccine, two doses of varicella, and three doses of human papillomavirus vaccine such as Cervarix or Gardasil.

Student immunization forms for are due at Clemson by July 1 for all students, except those enrolled only in online coursework. Medical or religious exemptions require additional forms.

For more detailed information, visit Clemson’s Immunizations and Allergy Injections page.

The College of Charleston requires:

  • 2 MMR doses
  • 4 polio doses
  • tetanus
  • meningococcal vaccine (a booster is required if the student’s meningococcal dose was given before age 16)

Recommended vaccines at the College of Charleston include Hepatitis A and B, HPV, varicella and influenza. More detailed information is available at the college’s Health and Immunization forms page.

Winthrop University requires: 

  • 2 MMR doses
  • tetanus
  • meningococcal vaccine (a booster is required if the student’s meningococcal dose was given before age 16) or a waiver

The university highly recommends but does not require the Hepatitis B and influenza vaccinations. If vaccination requirements are not fulfilled by the first day of classes, a $50 noncompliance fee is charged. More details are available at its Immunization Requirements page.


Heidi Finley is the editor of Carolina College Bound. Send questions or suggestions to hfinley@charlotteobserver.com.