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Health Science Screening

Student Health is responsible for managing immunity screening and vaccinations for all students entering a health sciences division course (Medicine, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Medical Laboratory Science, Dentistry, Dental Technology, Oral Health as well as Dietetics.

We will process all results, and send each student a copy of their results. We will also contact those students needing further vaccinations, and arrange evening clinics for students to get these done. Some students will require additional catch up vaccinations, and we will organise this.

Please see our frequently asked questions below for more information.

We can be contacted by email sh-vaxclinic@otago.ac.nz, but please note during busy times there may be a delay in us replying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. There is no designated lab nearby where I live, can I go elsewhere?
A. No. Due to variations in lab testing and reporting, we require students to use the designated labs. If you cannot get to a designated lab, book an appointment with the lab for as soon as you get back to Dunedin https://bookings.sclabs.co.nz/

Q. I had my immunity screening done 2.5 years ago, can I still use it?
A. We can accept Measles, Mumps, Varicella and Hepatitis B ab results showing immunity, but any results showing no immunity, as well as Hepatitis B ag, Hepatitis C and HIV will need to be repeated. Please send us your previous results, and we will then generate a new revised lab form for you.

Q. I don’t have any money, can I delay my immunity screening and vaccinations?
A. We understand there is a significant cost associated with this. These costs can be added to your course related costs, or you could explore other types of funding assistance (talk to your department, OUSA etc). This is a requirement of your course, and delays in this may affect your ability to attend clinical placements.

Q. I know I have an infectious disease, and don’t want my results shared with my school/department. Is this possible?
A. On admission to your course, you sign a declaration declaring significant health issues. We can limit access to who in the school/department sees your results, and this can be discussed on a case by case basis.

Q. I had all my childhood vaccinations, do I still need to do my immunity screening?
A. Yes. As well as checking your immunity to certain diseases, screening also checks for the presence/absence of a number of infectious diseases we cannot vaccinate against. Not everyone who receives vaccines as a child develops adequate protection needed for their programme, and so we need to identify and vaccinate those not currently immune.

Q. I haven’t been vaccinated as a child, do I still need to do the blood test?
A. Yes. Some students may have immunity through previous exposure, and we need a baseline for each student.

Q. I can’t find my vaccination records
A. You can check with your own doctor and your parents, as well as your Well child/ Tamariki Plunket book to see whether or not you were fully vaccinated. You can then sign/complete the declaration accordingly, declaring either you have, or have not been fully vaccinated. We will follow up with you once we have all your results.

Q. I haven’t had my childhood vaccinations
A. You should complete your immunity screening prior to having any vaccinations, to ensure we do not get any false positive results. You will then need to complete courses of all primary vaccinations, as per the infectious diseases policy.

Q. I am missing some doses of my childhood vaccines
A. Once your immunity screening is complete, you can see your own GP/nurse to get any missing doses, or wait until you are back in Dunedin and we will organise for you. Please send us any updated vaccination records.

Q. I am pregnant/breastfeeding/have a serious medical condition/have a severe allergy, do I still need to do immunity screening and vaccinations?
A. Yes, you still need to do your immunity screening, and let us know your medical history. We will then review your results, and if you are not immune, we will discuss with the infectious diseases physician, and update your school/department if you cannot have vaccinations.

Q. I don’t believe in vaccinations/want vaccinations, do I still need to have them?
A. Yes. Please refer to the infectious diseases policy for further information regarding this. Any decision not to take vaccines will need to be discussed directly with your Dean.

Q. My medical centre does not have the pertussis vaccine, can I wait until I am in Dunedin?
A. Yes you can, but please send through your vaccination history and get your immunity screening done in the meantime. Alternatively, you could ask your medical centre to order the vaccine in for you.

Q. I haven’t been sent the forms, can you please send them?
A. The forms are sent by the Health Sciences Admissions Office – the link to the forms is included in the information you are sent when offered a place in your course. Please refer back to your original email.

Q. I have had my blood tests but haven’t heard back from Student Health
A. Check you have used the lab form provided at a designated lab, to ensure the results will come to us. We will contact all students, but due to the volume of results, there can be a delay in this. Our priority is contacting those with abnormal results first. If you haven’t heard from us after 3 weeks, then please email.

Q. I haven’t been accepted yet, but want to do my screening early as I am going away on holiday
A. That can be arranged. If you are already an Otago University student, you can contact us to arrange to get the forms. If you are not currently an Otago University student, and are planning to enrol, it is best to wait until your enrolment is complete, and you have been accepted into your course. You can contact us if the deadline has passed before this is sorted.