Effective January 1, 2012, Texas Senate Bill 1107 requires all entering students at public and private or independent institutions of higher education to have an initial bacterial meningitis vaccination or booster dose during the five-year period preceding, or at least 10 days prior to, the first day of the first semester. Students affected by the mandate must submit proof of vaccination before the 10th class day – January 27, 2012.
South Texas College wants to stress the importance of consulting a physician about the need for an immunization against bacterial meningitis to prevent the disease. Meningitis is a very serious, sometimes fatal, disease that is easily spread on college campuses and we are trying to take all of the proper precautions to protect the health and well-being of our students.
Who falls under this requirement?
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has defined the term “entering student” to apply to:
- New students – those enrolling for the first-time at an institution of higher education, including students who transfer to the institution from another (AND)
- Returning students – those who previously attended an institution of higher education before January 1, 2012, and are enrolling in the same or another institution of higher education following a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester.
What are acceptable forms of evidence of vaccination or receiving a booster dose?
- The signature or stamp of a physician or his/her designee, or public health personnel on a form which shows the month, day, and year the vaccination dose or booster was administered (OR)
- an official immunization record generated from a state or local health authority (OR)
- an official record received from school officials, including a record from another state.
Where can I turn in my evidence of vaccination/exemption?
- Students must submit proof of vaccination to the Office of Admissions and Records at the Pecan, Mid Valley or Starr County Campuses. The Student Information Centers at the Technology and Nursing Allied Health Campuses will also accept vaccination documentation.
Who is exempt?
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has identified exemptions to the new requirement. A student is not required to submit evidence of receiving the vaccination if he or she is:
- 30 years of age or older by the first day of the semester (OR)
- enrolled in only online courses, distance education courses, or continuing education corporate training courses (OR)
- enrolled in a continuing education course or program that is less than 360 contact hours (OR)
- enrolled in a dual credit course which is taught at a public or private K-12 facility not located on a higher education institution campus (OR)
- incarcerated and enrolled in continuing education or college courses at a prison facility.
What is the process for declining the vaccination?
There are two options for students that do not wish to receive the vaccination or booster:
- the student must sign and submit a notarized affidavit stating that he or she declines the required vaccination for bacterial meningitis for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief. In this case, the student must request a conscientious exemption form from the Texas Department of State Health Services. The approved form for exemption can be found here: http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/reports/PDF/2554.PDF. A list of locations for notary services may be found here.
- the student must obtain a waiver, signed by a physician who is duly registered and licensed to practice medicine in the United States, stating that, in the physician’s opinion, the required vaccination for bacterial meningitis would be injurious to his or her health and well-being.