Texas Meningitis Vaccination Law information for Incoming Students
As of Jan. 1, 2012, incoming Texas college students and students returning after an absence of at least one fall or spring semester who are under 30 years old must submit documentation of immunization against bacterial meningitis. Students who fail to meet this requirement will be dropped from courses. The rules are set forth in SB 1107 passed during the 82nd Legislative Session.
State law mandates that the following students be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis:
- First-time college students
- Students transferring from another institution
- Students who are re-enrolling following an absence of at least one fall or spring semester
- Students previously or currently enrolled exclusively in UT Arlington online courses who are enrolling in in-person classes in a subsequent session
- Students under 30 who plan to audit a course.
It is imperative that students who plan to enroll in UT Arlington be vaccinated as soon as possible. Under the law, students subject to the meningitis requirement must have received the vaccine within the past five years. See the specific timeline for the session you are enrolling in at UT Arlington. Check the UT Arlington academic calendar for registration dates and information about the start of the semester.
Limited exemptions are specified in state law.
- What is bacterial meningitis?
Bacterial meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness can progress rapidly and cause death or permanent disabilities, such as hearing loss, brain damage, or loss of limbs. Studies suggest that college students have a slightly higher risk of contracting the illness because they live and work in close proximity. More information is available online at www.cdc.gov/meningitis.
- Do I have to get the meningitis vaccine?
You are required to show proof that you have received the meningococcal meningitis vaccination if you are under 30 and are a first-time UT Arlington student; a student transferring from another institution; a student who is re-enrolling following a break of at least one fall or spring semester; a continuing student changing from an online to an on-campus program; a student previously or currently enrolled exclusively in UT Arlington online courses who is enrolling in in-person classes in a subsequent session; or a student auditing a course without otherwise being enrolled at UT Arlington. You are not required to receive the vaccination if you are enrolled only in classes that are fully online and that do not meet on campus.
The vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – MCV4 and MPSV4 – offer protection against meningitis groups A, C, Y and W-135. Currently MCV4 and MPSV4 vaccines are the only vaccines accepted under state law. Please visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/mening/vac-mening-fs.htm for more information.
- As an international student, am I required to comply with the vaccination requirement?
Yes, international students also must file proof that they have received the vaccination by the specified deadline. UT Arlington strongly encourages international students to get the meningitis vaccine in their home country. Students also may purchase the vaccination through the UT Arlington Health Services Center, through an area public health clinic or from another provider.
Please note: Students specifically enrolled in the English Language Institute housed at UT Arlington are not subject to the requirements unless they are concurrently enrolled in a UT Arlington course. For information about the English Language Institute, visit http://eli.uta.edu/.
- I'm enrolled at another institution, and I plan to take one class at UT Arlington during a short term, such as summer or the winter break. Do I have to file proof that I have had the meningitis vaccination?
If you plan to enroll in any class on the UT Arlington campus, state law requires that you submit vaccination proof to UT Arlington.
- I am a high school student enrolled in a dual credit course that meets on the UT Arlington campus. Do I have to comply with the meningitis vaccine requirement?
If you are taking dual credit courses at a UT Arlington campus, you must comply with the meningitis vaccine law. If you are enrolled in a dual credit course held at your high school, you are not required to comply with the law.
- I am enrolled in continuing education courses at UT Arlington. Am I required to comply with the meningitis requirement?
Only students taking continuing education courses that require 360 or more classroom hours are required to comply with the meningitis vaccine law. Most UT Arlington continuing education courses do not meet this threshold.
- I plan to audit a class this upcoming semester. Am I required to receive the vaccination?
Yes, if you are not 30 as of the first class day of the term you are auditing.
- Are there any exemptions to this requirement?
A student to whom the law applies may be exempted from the requirement only if he or she presents an affidavit from a physician stating that the physician believes that the vaccination would be injurious to the student’s health and well-being, or he or she provides a conscientious exemption form. There are two types of conscientious objector exemption forms. Whichever form is used, the conscientious objector exemption form must be completed and notarized by a public notary. Notary services are generally available in the UT Arlington Office of Admissions, Records and Registration. More information about the conscientious objection process is available at http://wweb.uta.edu/aao/recordsandregistration/content/student_services/meningitis_requirement.aspx.
Students living off campus
Students who live off campus and not in University-owned housing may download the Exemption from Immunizations for Bacterial Meningitis for Reasons of Conscience Affidavit. Alternately, students may request the DSHS exemption form online at https://webds.dshs.state.tx.us/immco/default.aspx. Either form may be submitted to Magnus Health for processing.
Students living in on-campus housing
Students who intend to live in on-campus housing must use the official Texas Department of State Health Services form if requesting an exemption. Campus housing includes both university-owned and privately-owned housing facilities which are located within the campus boundaries. This includes residence halls, apartments, single-family homes and sorority and fraternity houses.
Students may request a DSHS exemption form online at https://webds.dshs.state.tx.us/immco/default.aspx. Please note that it may take up to two weeks to receive the exemption form. Students must mail the form to Magnus Health SMR, 415 Hillsborough St., Suite 201, Raleigh, N.C. 27603.
Additional information may be found at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Bacterial Meningitis website.
- Where can I get the meningococcal meningitis vaccine? How much does it cost?
Contact your primary care physician. The price of the meningitis vaccination depends on your insurance coverage and your physician’s practice. Some insurance plans require a co-payment for preventative vaccinations; others may fully cover the cost. The vaccine also may be available at area health care clinics and pharmacies.
The vaccine also is available through the UT Arlington Health Services Center. Students with private insurance may be able to file a claim afterward. For more information contact UT Arlington Health Services at 817-272-2771 or visit www.uta.edu/healthservices.
Tarrant County Public Health has a limited supply of subsidized meningitis vaccine doses intended for low-income, uninsured students. Availability varies by clinic site and demand. Please contact a clinic in your area to determine whether subsidized meningitis vaccine is available. Visit http://health.tarrantcounty.com for a list of public health clinics or call 817-321-4700.
Dallas County Health and Human Services also offers subsidized meningitis vaccine to students 19 and older. Supplies are limited. For more information, please call 214-819-2162 or visit http://www.dallascounty.org/department/hhs/ for a list of clinics and phone numbers.
Students need not show proof of residency to purchase the subsidized vaccine in either county.
- How do I submit records proving that I have received the meningococcal meningitis immunization by the mandated deadline?
UT Arlington uses a third-party service, Magnus Health SMR, to collect student vaccination records, verify the documents and maintain the records in compliance with federal privacy laws. Magnus will create an account for incoming students, who will be sent instructions via email detailing how to submit vaccination documentation. Proof documents may be uploaded online, faxed or mailed directly to Magnus Health, but students are encouraged to upload proof documents online. Faxing or mailing documents slows the verification process. Students are charged a $10 service fee for the document verification process. Magnus notifies UT Arlington when the incoming student has complied with the state law.
International students may pay with a credit card but must do via telephone call or via fax.
Students submitting payment to Magnus using credit cards with non-U.S. billing address are required to make payment manually over the phone or through a faxed credit card authorization form.
For more information, email Magnus Health at email@example.com or call 877-461-6831.
- What type of documents will be accepted as proof that I have been vaccinated against bacterial meningitis?
Required documentation must be written in English; must state your name and date of birth; must clearly state that the meningitis vaccine was administered to you; and must cite the month, day and year that your vaccine was administered. You may submit one of the following acceptable documents:
• A statement provided by a physician or other health care provider authorized by law to administer the required vaccine;
• A copy of your official immunization record issued by a state or local health authority in your country that states when you received the vaccine;
• Or, an official record from another higher education institution, including those in another state, certifying that you have received the vaccination.
- What happens if I have not been vaccinated by or have not submitted my vaccination documents by the start of the semester?
UT Arlington students who do not submit the proper vaccination documentation will be dropped before the first class day of the session. See UT Arlington’s Meningitis Requirement website for a calendar of dates related to meningitis.
- May I move into UT Arlington Housing before I have been vaccinated against meningitis? May I move in before I have submitted proof that I have received the vaccination?
No. Only new students who fully comply with the state meningitis vaccine law will be allowed to move into campus housing.
In addition, all new students planning to move into campus housing must comply with the meningitis vaccination requirements at least 10 days from a housing contract offer or 10 days before move in, whichever is earliest. Students will not be allowed to move in to campus housing until 10 days have passed from the date of their vaccination. See UT Arlington’s Housing website for additional details.
- I have already ordered my parking permit and have now been dropped from my classes because I did not file proof that I received the meningitis vaccine in time. Can I get a refund?
Yes. If you drop classes at any time before classes begin or before census date, you may receive a full or partial parking permit refund, depending on your circumstances. To qualify, you may return your permit in person or by certified mail. The Parking Office is located in the J.D. Wetsel Building, 1225 W. Mitchell St., Arlington, TX 76019. No refunds will be issued after the semester’s census date.
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