State law (Senate Bill 1107) requires that all new students entering a public, private, or independent institution of higher education in Texas beginning in January 2012 must provide proof of immunization for bacterial meningitis. The vaccination or booster dose must have been received during the five years prior to enrollment and at least ten days before the start of classes. Students who have been previously enrolled at Texas State, and are enrolling following a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester will be subject to the vaccination requirement. Students transferring from another institution of higher education will also be subject to the vaccination requirement.Texas State requires you to meet this requirement before you will be allowed to register for classes.
Exceptions to Vaccination Requirement
A student is not required to submit evidence of vaccination against bacterial meningitis if:
- 30 years of age or older by the first day of the start of the semester
- Enrolled only in online or other distance education courses
- Enrolled in a continuing education course or program that is less than 360 contact hours, or continuing
education corporate training
- 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
- Incarcerated in a Texas prison
Submitting Proof of Vaccination
Texas State is partnering with Magnus Health SMR for managing compliance with the meningitis vaccination requirement. New students (including those following a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester) planning to enroll at Texas State must submit proof of meningitis vaccination directly to Magnus Health SMR.
Students subject to the bacterial meningitis requirement will receive an e-mail
from Magnus Health SMR with instructions. Students will be charged $10 by Magnus Health SMR
for processing the documents and verifying compliance with the vaccination requirement. Acceptable evidence of vaccination may include any of the following:
- A document bearing the signature or stamp of the physician or his/her designee or public health
personnel (must include the month, day and year the vaccination was administered.
- An official immunization record from a state or local health authority (must include the month, day and
year the vaccination was administered).
- An official immunization record received from school officials, including a record from another state
(must include the month, day and year the vaccination was administered).
For step-by-step instructions of submitting proof of vaccination through Magnus SMR, please click here.
Requesting an Exemption to the Vaccination Requirement
Students are encouraged to receive the meningitis vaccination because of the higher prevalence of this serious infection in adolescents and young adults. However, a student or the parent or guardian of a student may decline the meningitis vaccination for medical reasons, or for reasons of conscience. An exemption to the vaccination requirement may be requested by providing one of the following documents:
- An affidavit or certificate signed by a physician registered and licensed to practice medicine in the
United States stating that in the opinion of the physician, the required meningitis 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 meningitis vaccination for
reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.
- Students living on campus or less than 18 years of age must use the "Exemption from Immunizations for Reasons of Conscience Affidavit Form" from the Texas Department of State Health Services. To request this form, click here.
- Students not living on campus and 18 years of age and older may use the "Exemption from Immunizations for Bacterial Meningitis for Reasons of Conscience" affidavit from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. To request this form, click on the THECB Reasons of Conscience Form.
Both affidavit forms for exemption from immunization for reasons of conscience may be accessed through links on the Magnus website when the student signs in. The “Reasons of Conscience Affidavit Form” requested from the Department of State Health Services will be mailed and may take up to two weeks to be received. The “Exemptions from Immunizations for Bacterial Meningitis for Reasons of Conscience” can be downloaded from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board website. Students must use the correct affidavit form based on whether they live on or off campus. Please allow extra time for processing an exemption request. The original notarized form must be mailed to Magnus Health. These forms cannot be faxed or submitted online.
Meningococcal vaccines protect against four of the strains of meningococci that cause disease (A, C, Y and W-135). The vaccines are very effective and safe, but do not cover 100% of the strains that can cause meningococcal disease. Meningococcal vaccines available in the United States include:
Preferred vaccine for young adults and persons up to 55 years of age
Recommended vaccine for persons > 55 years of age
Persons vaccinated with any of the above meningococcal vaccines more than five years prior to enrolling as a new student at Texas State must receive a booster dose of either Menactra or Menveo. Studies have shown that protection from the vaccines diminishes significantly after five years.
About Meningococcal Meningitis
Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Neisseria meningitidis is one of the leading causes of bacterial meningitis in the United States. The highest rates of infection with Neisseria meningitidis occur in children less than 2 years of age and adolescents and young adults aged 14-24. Most cases of meningococcal meningitis are reported from December to March, but they can occur at any time. Meningococcal meningitis is a serious infection that can progress very rapidly in a matter of hours. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the mortality rate for persons with meningococcal meningitis is 10-14%, but 11-19% of survivors suffer serious complications including loss of hearing, neurologic deficits and loss of limbs.
Meningococcal bacteria are present in the nose and throat of 5-10% of the population without causing the carrier any disease. However, the bacteria can be transmitted through close contact with others who are more vulnerable. Respiratory droplets or oral secretions from infected persons can spread the infection through coughing, sneezing, kissing, or sharing food, drinks, eating utensils or cigarettes.
Meningococcal illness usually develops 3-4 days after exposure, but can occur 2-10 days after exposure. The illness can be difficult to diagnose in the first few hours because some of the symptoms can be mistaken for a viral infection. Meningococcal meningitis symptoms include:
- Severe generalized headache
- Neck stiffness/pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Eyes sensitive to light
- Red pin-point rash or purple blotches on skin
- Confusion, sleepiness or lethargy
Meningococcal meningitis is a medical emergency. It is treated with intravenous antibiotics and other medications in the hospital. Delay in diagnosis and treatment can lead to serious complications or death.
Persons exposed to someone with meningococcal infection through close contact are usually treated with an antibiotic to help protect against infection. Antibiotics used for this purpose include Rocephin (injection), Ciprofloxacin (pill) or Rifampin (pill). These medications should be taken as soon as possible after an exposure.