College freshmen need more than a set of towels, a microwave and a computer. Before they even step foot in a lecture hall they need proof they are up-to-date on all their immunizations. We met a young man from Harrisburg who hopes to one day from getting his pre-college physical to giving them.
Certified Nurse Practitioner Kristen Corkle at the Avera Harrisburg Medical Clinic is giving 20 year old Vitaliy Verbovskiy a thorough "once-over" before he heads off to college.Vitally is going to be a first year nursing student at USD (on their Sioux Falls Campus), but before he shows up for the first day of classes he had to do a little homework on what type of health the school expects him to be in.
Vitaliy says, "The school did require a lot of immunizations. I needed probably 3 more than I already had. They require 21 immunizations, many of which you accumulate over the years of course."
But what if you don't know what shots you've had? If you grew up in South Dakota that answer is only a click away. South Dakota has set up a new website you can check, but only medical clinics have access to it. They will let you know where your records stand, but you need to check your future college website to find out what they require.
CNP Kristen Corkle says, "Definitely if you are going to be living in the dorm, definitely without a doubt you need the meningococcal vaccine because of the increased incidence of meningitis in college freshman."
Vitally also had some blood drawn for a hepatitis titer to prove he is still immune to hepatitis. He also got the Tdap booster shot. That's a newer vaccine for adolescents and adults that boost immunity for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (which is better known as whooping cough).
Kristen says, "We also do TB skin testing, which is a little poke in the arm, to verify there is no tuberculosis, they haven't been exposed to TB and don't have any symptoms of it. We also check their health records and make sure everything is current and up to date as far as there immunizations."
Vitaliy says, "I don't want to get sick, so I can sacrifice the 30 minutes it takes to get shots."
Vitally didn't mind being poked and prodded for a few minutes. The way he looks at it, it's just another opportunity to watch a pro at work in a profession he hopes to join in the not so distant future.
Corkle also recommends that women consider the HPV vaccine to guard against cervical cancer. You can get it up to the age of 26.