Student Immunization Requirements

  • IMMUNIZATIONS

    Students may not enroll or continue attendance at school unless the minimum state vaccine requirements have been met. 
     
     
    Low Cost or Free Immunization Clinics:
    In accordance with Department of State Health Services (DSHS) policy, the free and reduced vaccine programs funded by Texas Vaccines for Children will only serve:
    • CHIP: A child who is enrolled in the CHIP program
    • Medicaid: A child who is enrolled in the Medicaid program
    • Uninsured: A child who has no health insurance coverage
    • American Indian or Alaskan Native
    • Underinsured (*New Definition*): A child whose health insurance does not include vaccines; a child whose insurance covers only selected vaccines (TVFC-eligible for non-covered vaccines only); or a child whose insurance caps vaccine coverage at a certain amount. Once that coverage amount is reached, the child is categorized as underinsured.

    If you have insurance with vaccine coverage, you are no longer eligible for free or reduced vaccine services previously offered through the Denton County Health Department , Care Van and other providers. Insured children will be required to receive vaccinations from their primary care providers. If you are not sure of your coverage, please contact your insurance carrier. 

    Exemptions of Immunization Requirements
    Chapter §97.62 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) describes the conditions under which individuals can seek exemptions from Texas immunization requirements. Exclusions from compliance are allowable on an individual basis for medical contraindications, reasons of conscience, including a religious belief, and active duty with the armed forces of the United States.

    Information on obtaining an exemption for immunizations and answers to frequently asked questions are available at dshs.state.tx.us

    Secure online request form for exemption affidavit:  https://co-request.dshs.texas.gov/

    Call your school nurse if you have any questions or would like her to review your child's record. 

    RESOURCES
    Denton County Health Department - https://dentoncounty.gov/Departments/Health-Services/Denton-County-Public-Health/Immunizations

    WHAT IS MENINGITIS?

    Meningitis is an inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord.  It can be caused by viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria. Viral meningitis is most common and the least serious. Meningitis caused by bacteria is the most likely form of the disease to cause serious, long-term complications. It is an uncommon disease but requires urgent treatment with antibiotics to prevent permanent damage or death.

    Bacterial meningitis can be caused by multiple organisms.Two common types are Streptococcus pneumoniae, with over 80 serogroups that can cause illness, and Neisseria meningitidis, with 5 serogroups that most commonly cause meningitis.

    WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

    Someone with bacterial meningitis will become very ill. The illness may develop over one or two days, but it can also rapidly progress in a matter of hours. Not everyone with meningitis will have the same symptoms.

    Children (over 1-year-old) and adults with meningitis may have a severe headache, high temperature, vomiting, sensitivity to bright lights, neck stiffness, and drowsiness or confusion. In both children and adults, there may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots. These can occur anywhere on the body.

    The diagnosis of bacterial meningitis is based on a combination of symptoms and laboratory results.

    HOW SERIOUS IS BACTERIAL MENINGITIS?

    If it is diagnosed early and treated promptly, most people make a complete recovery. If left untreated or treatment is delayed, bacterial meningitis can be fatal, or a person may be left with a permanent disability.

    HOW IS BACTERIAL MENINGITIS SPREAD?

    Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as diseases like the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. The germs live naturally in the back of our noses and throats, but they do not live for long outside the body. They are spread when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing; sharing drinking containers, utensils, or cigarettes) or when people cough or sneeze without covering their mouth and nose.

    The bacteria do not cause meningitis in most people. Instead, most people become carriers of the bacteria for days, weeks or even months. The bacteria rarely overcome the body's immune system and cause meningitis or another serious illness.

    HOW CAN BACTERIAL MENINGITIS BE PREVENTED?

    Vaccination

    Bacterial meningitis caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis may be prevented through vaccination. The vaccine which protects against Streptococcus pneumoniae is called pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or PCV. This vaccine is recommended by the Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for children in the first year of life. Neisseria meningitidis is prevented through two types of vaccines. The first is a meningococcal conjugate vaccine which protects against 4 serogroups A, C, W, and Y and is referred to as MCV4. The second is a vaccine against Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B and is referred to as MenB.

    The ACIP recommends MCV4 for children at age 11-12 years, with a booster dose at 16-18 years. In Texas, one dose of MCV4 given at or after age 11 years is required for children in 7th-12th grades. One dose of MCV4 received in the previous five years is required in Texas for those under the age of 22 years and enrolling in college. Teens and young adults (16-23 years of age) may be vaccinated with MenB. This vaccine is not required for school or college enrollment in Texas. 

    Vaccines to protect against bacterial meningitis are safe and effective. Common side effects include redness and pain at the injection site lasting up to two days. Immunity develops about 1-2 weeks after the vaccines are given and lasts for 5 years to life depending on vaccine. 

    Healthy habits

    Do not share food, drinks, utensils, toothbrushes, or cigarettes. Wash your hands. Limit the number of persons you kiss. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Maintaining healthy habits, like getting plenty of rest and not having close contact with people who are sick, also helps.

    WHO IS AT RISK FOR BACTERIAL MENINGITIS?

    Certain groups are at increased risk for bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis. These risk factors include HIV infection, travel to places where meningococcal disease is common (such as certain countries in Africa and in Saudi Arabia), and college students living in a dormitory. Other risk factors include having a previous viral infection, living in a crowded household, or having an underlying chronic illness.

    Children ages 11-15 years have the second highest rate of death from bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis. And children ages 16-23 years also have the second highest rates of disease caused by Neisseria meningiditis.

    WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU THINK YOU OR A FRIEND MIGHT HAVE BACTERIAL MENINGITIS?

    Seek prompt medical attention.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION

    Your school nurse, family doctor, and the staff at your local or regional health department office are excellent sources for information on all infectious diseases. You may call your family doctor or local health department office to ask about meningococcal vaccine.  Additional information may also be found at the web sites for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/index.html and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS): https://www.dshs.texas.gov/immunize/PreteenVaccines.aspx or https://dshs.texas.gov/IDCU/disease/meningitis/Meningitis.aspx      


    Meningitis Vaccine Information

    Texas law requires all new college students under 30 years old to receive the meningitis vaccine. Meningitis is a serious disease; its effects can lead to loss of limbs and even loss of life. Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord and is spread through respiratory and throat secretions transmitted from coughing and sneezing. Students likely to be at risk to the disease are those who live in close quarters, like college dorms.

    Texas Children’s Hospital has provided an educational video about two college students affected by meningitis titled “Facing Meningitis.” This dramatic video will convey the importance of receiving the meningococcal meningitis vaccine before going to college. Doctors from Texas Children’s say that this compelling video will provide parents and students information and the risks students face if they are not vaccinated against meningitis. Adolescents ages 16 to 21 have the highest rates of infection of meningococcal meningitis. Texas Children’s Hospital is encouraging education and health care associations across the state to use the video as an educational piece when communicating to parents and students about meningitis.

    Texas colleges and universities will not allow students to complete the enrollment process and register for classes without providing proof of the vaccine.

    The CDC recommends that all adolescents ages 11 to 12 receive the meningococcal meningitis vaccine filled by a booster dose at age 16. The Texas Department of State Health Services minimum requirements for immunizations requires all students entering the seventh grade to provide proof of immunization for meningitis and a booster when entering college, even if the student does not live in student housing.

    For information, visit vaccine.texaschildrens.org.