Bacterial Meningitis Vaccination Requirements
Texas legislation mandates that every new student and new transfer under the age of 30 to any Texas university, regardless of living on campus or off campus, will be required to have a Meningitis Vaccination within the 5 years prior to the first class day and at least 10 days prior to the first class day. In addition, HSU requires every new incoming student under 30 years of age who intends to live on campus to have had the meningitis vaccine within the last 5 years prior to the first class day and at least 10 days prior to the first day of moving on campus. (A returning student following a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester is also considered a new student.) Exceptions to this law would be:
- The student is enrolled only in online or other distance education courses; or
- The student is enrolled in a continuing education course or program that is less than 360 contact hours, or continuing education corporate training; or
- The student is 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
- The student is incarcerated in a Texas prison.
A student is not required to submit evidence of receiving the Meningitis Vaccine if the student submits to HSU:
- An affidavit or certificate signed by a physician who is duly registered and licensed to practice medicine in the U.S., stating that in the physician’s opinion, the vaccine would be injurious to the health and well- being of the student; or
- An affidavit signed by the student stating that the student declines the vaccine for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.
Students NOT LIVING IN ON-CAMPUS HOUSING, who wish to file an affidavit, may use the official Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s form that is accessible from the opening page of the website at www.thecb.state.tx.us. The student must print the form, have it notarized, and file it with the Hardin-Simmons University Nurse’s office.
Students LIVING IN ON-CAMPUS HOUSING must use the official Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) form. It may be ordered electronically. The form is then mailed from DSHS to the student, and it may take up to two weeks to receive it. It must be completed, notarized and provided to Hardin-Simmons University Nurse’s office. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the DSHS form and have it notarized. Information about requesting the form is available at:
The latter exemption does not apply during a disaster or public health emergency, terrorist attack, hostile military or paramilitary action, or extraordinary law enforcement emergency declared by a Texas Department of State Health Services authority and is in effect for the location of the university the student attends. Texas law states that acceptable evidence of your Meningitis Vaccination must include:
- Student’s name and date of birth.
- Month, day, year the vaccine was administered.
- Signature or stamp of the physician or his/her designee, or public health personnel; OR
- An official immunization record generated from a state or local health authority (as from the Texas Public Health Department); OR
- An official record received from school officials, including a record from another state.
- The student has to have received the vaccine or a booster during the 5-year period preceding the first day of class.
The vaccine can be obtained through the health department, some pharmacies, and perhaps some private physicians. If age 18 and under, the student may qualify for the vaccine free with Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing in Abilene. Call Alice Murphy at 325-671-2356 to inquire about qualifications.
It is important you consult your physician regarding the need for the Meningitis Vaccine to prevent bacterial meningitis.