What are titers and why do schools required them before starting clinicals.
Serum titers are blood tests that measure whether or not you are immune to a given disease(s}. More specifically, a quantitative serum titer is a titer with a numerical value indicating your actual degree of immunity to a disease(s}.Many clinical sites require documented proof of immunity in the form of quantitative titers - simply getting the vaccination is not enough.Therefore, many must have quantitative titers drawn, and provide copies of the official laboratory.
Sending in Printouts containing the numerical values for Mumps, Measles, Rubella, Varicella and Hep B immunity are required by many schools and employers nationwide.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO BE AWARE OF/PITFALLS TO AVOID :
1. If you don't have a record of the previous vaccinations you've received, get your titers drawn first.
• Why? Measure your immunity level before getting vaccinated to boost it. Your titers might indicate a high immunity to a specific disease. in which case you won't need to get vaccinated for that disease.
2. Please get the exact type of titers you have asked you to get.
Common Mistakes Students Make:
•Quantitative vs. Qualitative titers - quantitative have a numerical value,
qualitative simply indicates "immune vs. non-immune" (with no numerical
value). Be sure to get quantitative titers. If you don't get quantitative titers.
many school may not accept them and you might be required to get them redone.
• IgG vs. IgM titers - More than likely you will need IgG titers; DO NOT get labs for IgM titers if your school will only accept IgG titers.
•Hbs AB IgG vs. HbsAG IgG titers (for Hep B) -you need Hep B AB (;Antibodies)
titers, NOT Hep B AG (,Antigen) titers.
3. If the titer for a specific disease shows that you're not immune, you need to get vaccinated or re-vaccinated (also known as getting a booster).
• Note: This is where previous vaccination records are helpful. Vaccinations for different diseases have different timelines and numbers of shots needed (ex. Varicella - 2 shot series 4-6 weeks apart vs. Hep B-3 shot series over 6 months).
4. Once vaccinated, titers should not be drawn until 6-8 weeks after the vaccination.
• Why? If drawn too soon afterwards, the titers will indicate non-immunity as the vaccine will still be in your system.
WHAT TO DO IF ANY OF YOUR QUANTITATIVE TITERS COME BACK NOT-IMMUNE:
1. Consult your physician about your vaccination history - how many immunizations have you already received for the disease(s)?
2. If you haven't already had it, start the vaccination series for the non-immune disease. If you're part way through the vaccination series, complete it.
3. If you've completed the series, you will need to get an additional immunization (also known as a booster) for that disease.
4. After completing the series, or getting the booster, wait 6 weeks and then get a follow-up titer.
TRY NOT TO GET THE TITER TOO EARLY OR IT WILL COME BACK NON-IMMUNE. WE KNOW WITH DEADLINES ITS NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE BUT 4-6 WEEKS IS RECOMMENDED.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR FOLLOW-UP TITER STILL COMES BACK NON-IMMUNE:
Many programs have a way to document your non-immunity to the disease(s), in the form of your follow-up titer(s)