FAQs About School Vaccine Exemptions for Reasons of Conscience


Table of Contents:

Obtaining and Completing the Affidavit

School Enrollment

Duration of Exemptions

Information Shared with DSHS

Lost or Replacement Affidavits


Obtaining and Completing the Affidavit


How do I obtain a vaccine exemption for reasons of conscience for my child?

Parents or guardians need to request a vaccine exemption affidavit form in writing or via a secure online request. Each child's name and date of birth must be included in the request. Written requests must be submitted through the U.S. Postal Service, commercial carrier, fax, or online:

Mailing Address:
Department of State Health Services
Immunization Branch (MC 1946)
P.O. Box 149347
Austin, TX 78714-9347

Hand Deliver:
Department of State Health Services
Immunization Branch
1100 West 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756

Fax: (512) 776-7544

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

Phone and email requests cannot be accepted.

Households requesting an affidavit for more than one child should submit only one request form. The request should include the name and date of birth of each child living within that household who needs affidavit forms. This will ensure you receive the forms in a timely manner.


How many vaccine exemption affidavit forms can a parent or guardian request at one time?

Parents or guardians can request up to five vaccine exemption affidavit forms per child.


What should parents or guardians do with the vaccine exemption affidavit form?

After the original vaccine exemption affidavit form is signed and notarized, it must be submitted to the child's school.


Can an expectant parent request a vaccination exemption affidavit form for an unborn child?

No. Because the child's name and date of birth is required when the vaccine exemption affidavit form is requested, expectant parents must wait until after the child is born to request the vaccine exemption affidavit form.


Enrollment in School Without Vaccinations


Does a child have a 90-day provisional enrollment in school while awaiting the vaccine exemption form?

No. Admission to a school is not allowed until records are produced showing that (1) the child has been immunized in accordance with the rules; (2) the child has an exemption affidavit from immunization requirements on file with the school in accordance with the rules; or (3) the child is entitled to provisional enrollment.


What is required for school enrollment if I want my child exempted from some vaccines but not all of them?

Two different immunization documents will be needed: 1) an official notarized DSHS vaccine exemption affidavit for those vaccines the parent or guardian has chosen for reasons of conscience to have their child exempt from; and 2) a valid immunization record indicating the month, date, and year each vaccine for which the child is not exempt was administered, with appropriate validation by a physician or public health clinic.


Are there other reasons a child may be exempted from vaccination requirements?

A child may be exempted from one or more vaccinations for medical reasons. The parent or guardian must provide the school with a certificate signed by a physician (M.D. or D.O.), registered and licensed to practice medicine in the United States, which states that, in the physician's opinion, the immunization required would be injurious to the child's health and well-being or to any of the child's family or household members. Unless a lifelong condition is specified, that certificate is valid for one year from the date signed by the physician and must be renewed every year for the exclusion to remain in effect.


What if there is a vaccine-preventable disease, such as measles, outbreak at a school?

Each parent or guardian who signs a vaccine exemption affidavit form also is acknowledging they understand that their child may be excluded from school attendance in times of emergency or epidemic declared by the Texas Commissioner of Health.


Does this new vaccine exemption option mean that my vaccinated child may be attending school with other children who are not fully vaccinated?

Yes.


Duration of Exemptions


For how long is each child's individual exemption affidavit valid?

Each individual vaccine exemption affidavit is good for two years from the date notarized.


What if my child changes schools?

The vaccine exemption affidavit is part of the child's school records and should be sent to the new school with other school records.


If a child currently has a religious exemption for vaccinations on file with the school do they need to obtain a new vaccine exemption for reasons of conscience affidavit?

No. Students who had religious exemptions filed at the school prior to September 1, 2003 do not need a new vaccine exemption affidavit form. The religious exemption on file remains valid.


Information Shared with DSHS


What information will be listed on the vaccine exemption affidavit form I receive?

Information on the form will include the child's name and date of birth; a list of required vaccines for which exemptions may be requested; a statement for the requesting parent or guardian to indicate their relationship to the child; and an acknowledgement that the parent or guardian has read the attached information entitled The Benefits and Risks of Vaccinations. Parents or guardians will then have to sign the form in front of a notary public.


What will happen to the information collected on each child?

Requests submitted to DSHS will be returned to parents or guardians along with the vaccine exemption affidavit forms. DSHS will track and report on the number of affidavit requests and zip code. No other information will be maintained.


Lost or Replacement Affidavits


What happens if the parent or school loses the original vaccine exemption affidavit?

Photocopies of the vaccine exemption affidavit form are not valid. If parents or schools lose the exemption affidavit, the parent or guardian needs to request another vaccine exemption affidavit in writing following the same procedures used to obtain the first form.

Last updated August 18, 2016