As mandated by Texas Health and Safety Code (826.025), the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) supplies post-exposure rabies biologicals (vaccines and rabies immune globulin) only for persons with known or suspected exposures to rabid or potentially rabid animals. DSHS does not, however, dispense vaccine for pre-exposure prophylaxis.
The Immunization Branch purchases and provides rabies biologicals to the DSHS Health Service Region offices and vaccine depots--usually local health departments or hospitals. All rabies biological reimbursements are processed through the Immunization Branch central office in Austin. Although DSHS requires reimbursement for these biologicals, no one who has a valid exposure to rabies will be denied access to post-exposure treatment because of their inability to pay.
Depending upon the Health Service Region, Zoonosis Control Branch or Immunization Branch staff manages the inventory and distribution of rabies biologicals in their offices and in established depots. Staff collect surveillance information (mandated by Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 97.123 "Provision of Anti-Rabies Biologicals"); provide technical assistance to physicians and their patients regarding post-exposure prophylaxis; follow up on bite reports from local animal control agencies; dispense rabies biologicals as needed; and obtain reimbursement information and agreements.
For more information on the guidelines for post-exposure rabies prophylaxis, visit the Zoonosis Control Branch website, or contact Zoonosis Control at 512.458.7255. For more information on the availability of rabies biologicals, please contact the Texas Department of State Health Services, Immunization Branch at 888.963.7111.
The Texas Department of State Health Services, Immunization Branch provides influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, at state contract cost, to Public Health Region offices, local health departments, and their providers. Any fees collected for these vaccinations by the regional offices are sent to the Department to go towards the cost of the vaccines. Local health departments and providers are billed for the cost of the vaccines. If locals have budgeted for the vaccine they are expected to reimburse the Department. If funds are not available, the Department expects to be reimbursed up to the vaccine cost from any fees collected for the vaccine. Providers are expected to reimburse the Department for the cost of the vaccine. Vaccines are provided for Texas Vaccine for Children (TVFC) eligible children who are at increased risk for complications of influenza and pneumococcal disease at no charge to the customer. TVFC enrolled physicians can secure the vaccines through their local health departments.
Last year, the Texas Department of State Health Services, Immunization Branch distributed approximately 392,540 doses of influenza vaccine and 18,545 doses of pneumococcal vaccine to be administered to Texans.
Influenza Vaccine is strongly recommended for any person age 6 months or older who, because of age or underlying medical condition, is at increased risk of complications of influenza. Health-care workers and others (including household members) in close contact with persons in high-risk groups also should be vaccinated. In addition, influenza vaccine may be administered to any person who wishes to reduce the chance of becoming infected with influenza (the vaccine can be administered to children as young as 6 months.
Groups at increased risk for influenza-related complications include:
- Persons who are 65 years old or older.
- Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities that house persons of any age who have chronic medical conditions.
- Adult and children who have chronic disorders of the pulmonary or cardiovascular systems, including children with asthma.
- Adults and children who have required regular medical follow-up or hospitalization during the preceding year because of chronic metabolic disease (including diabetes mellitus), renal dysfunction, hemoglobinopathies, or immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications.
- Children and teenagers (aged 6 months-18 years) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and therefore might be at risk for developing Reye syndrome after influenza.
- Women who will be in the second or third trimester of pregnancy during the influenza season.
Pneumococcal vaccine, as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, should be used more extensively and administered to:
- Persons age 65 or over
- Immunocompetent persons age 2 years or older who are at increased risk for illness and death associated with pneumococcal disease because of chronic illness.
- Immunocompetent persons aged 2 years or older with functional or anatomic asplenia.
- Persons age 2 years or older living in environments in which the risk for disease is high.
- Immunocompromised persons aged 2 years or older who are at high risk for infections.
Yellow Fever Information
The U.S. Public Health Service has designated the Texas Department of State Health Services as the governmental entity in the State of Texas which is responsible for determining which physicians in the state are authorized to administer yellow fever vaccine for persons who travel outside the United States. The Texas Department of State Health Services, Immunization Branch is responsible for maintaining and updating the list of certified yellow fever physicians, processing application requests, issuing stamps, and the tracking of doses administered.
For detailed, up-to-date Yellow Fever vaccination information for the public and for healthcare providers, see the Yellow Fever Information page.
All other questions relating to immunizations for foreign travel should be directed to the Infectious Disease, Epidemiology and Surveillance Division (IDEAS) at 512.458.7676 or refer to the CDC Travel Information web page.