Health Requirements for New Students
The Texas state legislature has enacted a law that states on January 1, 2014, all new students who are under the age of 22 on their first day of class at a public, private, or independent institution of higher education in Texas must provide proof of immunization for bacterial meningitis. The vaccine must have been received during the 5 years prior to enrollment and at least 10 days prior to moving into the residence halls or the first day of classes.
The law defines a “new student” as:
- New Student – A first-time student of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education and includes a student who transfers to the institution from another institution;
- A student who previously attended an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education before January 1, 2012 and who is enrolling in the same or another institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education following a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester.
Students are required to complete the Meningitis Vaccine form, including the month, date, and year of meningitis vaccination, and return to Houston Baptist University after they have been accepted as a student. Accompanying documentation, showing the signature of a physician, other healthcare worker, or public health official must be included with the completed form. Students will not be able to register for, nor attend, classes until this form and accompanying documentation has been received. Students must also have had the vaccine 10 days before classes begin. If not, students will not be allowed to enter class until 10 days have passed since their vaccine.
Approved Meningococcal Vaccines
There are a few types of meningococcal vaccines in the United States:
- Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV4)
- Meningococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (MPSV4)
- Meningococcal Group B Vaccine (MenB)
The MCV4 is the preferred vaccine to receive. This quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine protect against four strains of meningococci that cause the disease (A, C, Y and W-135).
U.S. brand name MCV4 vaccines for teenagers and young adults include:
Although not preferred, the Meningococcal Group B (MenB) vaccine, which only protects against one strain of the disease, does meet the state requirement.
U.S. brand name MenB vaccines include:
Persons who received a meningococcal vaccination more than 5 years prior to their first day of class (or move-in) as a new student at HBU must receive a new vaccine, as it is only valid for 5 years.
Students from other countries who cannot get Menactra or Menveo should confirm with their doctor that their vaccine is equivalent and protects against the A, C, Y and W-135 strains, or the B strain of the disease. Otherwise, the student will be required to get another vaccination.
Students may waive the requirement by two ways
- An affidavit or certificate signed by a physician who is duly registered and licensed to practice in the United States, stating that in the physician’s opinion, the vaccination would be injurious to the health and well-being of the student;
- An affidavit signed by the student stating that the student declines the vaccination for reasons of conscience, including religious belief. A Conscientious Exemption Form from the Texas Department of State Health Services must be used.
Where can I get vaccinated?
If you have not been vaccinated within the past five years, you may be able to receive a Bacterial Meningitis vaccine from the following:
- your health care provider
- a local health clinic in your neighborhood or
- your local pharmacy