Texas Minimum State Vaccine Requirements for College Entry
All entering students at an institution of higher education* are required to show proof of an initial meningococcal vaccination or a booster dose during the five-year period prior to enrolling. They must get the vaccine at least 10 days before the semester begins. View the exemptions section for more information on exemptions from these requirements.
*an "institution of higher education," for purposes of this requirement, includes a "private or independent institution of higher education" per Texas Education Code Sec. 51.9192; view Education Code Sec. 61.003 for full definitions of these terms.
Please contact your college or university to learn specific guidelines on COVID-19 protocols. COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines can be co-administered without regard to timing.
Entering college students required to receive meningococcal vaccination and students not required to receive meningococcal vaccine are defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Rules, Chapter 21, Subchapter T, §21.612, §21.613, and §21.614
Requirements for Healthcare and Veterinary Students
Special immunization requirements exist for medical and veterinary students whose coursework may expose them to higher risk of potential exposure to viruses and bacteria. Per Texas Education Code 51.933, Health and Human Services may write rules requiring students enrolled in health-related courses to receive certain vaccines in order to participate in coursework activities involving direct patient contact with potential exposure to blood or bodily fluids in educational, medical, or dental care facilities, or direct contact with animals or animal remains. For a complete listing of requirements, view the Requirements for Students Enrolled in Healthcare or Veterinary Coursework page.
Proof of Vaccination
Students may show proof of vaccination against meningococcal disease by providing their college or university with an immunization record that shows they have been vaccinated against meningococcal disease in the last five years. Acceptable proof includes one of the following:
- A form showing the signature or stamp of a physician or his/her designee, or public health personnel that shows the month, day, and year the vaccination dose or booster was administered
- An official immunization record generated from a state or local health authority that shows the month, day, and year the vaccination or booster dose was administered
- An official record received from school officials (includes records from out of state)
Students may get a copy of their immunization records from their private healthcare provider or local health department, depending on where the vaccination(s) were administered. If the student's immunization records are in ImmTrac2, the Texas Immunization Registry, he or she can request a copy by calling the Texas Immunization Information Line at 1-800-252-9152. Please note that individuals 18-26 years of age must re-consent as an adult in order to stay in the registry.
Which Students Are Required To Receive Meningococcal Vaccine?
- A first-time student of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education
- A transfer student from another institution
- A returning student who attended college before January 1, 2012, who is enrolling in the same or another institution of higher education following a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester
Which Students Are Not Required To Receive Meningococcal Vaccine?
- Students 22 years of age or older by the first day of the start of the semester
- Students enrolled only in online or other distance education courses
- Students enrolled in a continuing education course or program that is less than 360 contact hours, or continuing education corporate training
- Students 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
- Students incarcerated in a Texas prison
- Students who are not enrolled in an institution of higher education
- Students submitting an affidavit or a certificate signed by a physician who is duly registered and licensed and in good standing to practice medicine in the United States, stating that, in the physician's opinion, the vaccination required would be injurious to the health and well-being of the student
- Students who submit an affidavit/form signed by the student (or the parent/legal guardian/managing conservator, if applicable) stating the student declines the vaccination for bacterial meningitis for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief
- For students obtaining exemptions from vaccination, these exemptions do not apply during a disaster or public health emergency, terrorist attack, hostile military or paramilitary action, or extraordinary law enforcement emergency; declared by an appropriate official or authority from the Texas Department of State Health Services; and in effect for the location of the institution the student attends
Obtaining an Affidavit for Community College or Public Junior College
Students attending community college or public junior college may generate and print a conscientious exemption affidavit for the bacterial meningitis vaccine requirement online at the Meningococcal Vaccination Exemption Website.
Obtaining an Affidavit at Other Institutions of Higher Education
A person claiming exclusion for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief, from a required immunization may only obtain the affidavit form by submitting a request (via online form, mail, fax or hand-delivery) to the department. The request must include following information:
- Full name of child or student
- Child's or student's date of birth (month/day/year)
- Complete mailing address, including telephone number
- Number of requested affidavit forms (not to exceed 5).
Affidavit form requests will be processed and mailed within one week from the receipt of the request. If additional information is needed in order to process the affidavit, you will be notified.
Email or telephone requests cannot be processed. Requests for affidavit forms must be submitted to the department through one of the following methods:
Obtaining an Affidavit Online
Affidavits may be requested via the Immunization Unit Affidavit Request website.
Obtaining an Affidavit By Mail
A written request for an affidavit may be sent through the United States Postal Service (or other commercial carrier) to:
Texas Department of State Health Services
Immunization Branch, Mail Code 1946
P.O. Box 149347
Austin, Texas 78714-9347
Obtaining an Affidavit By Fax
Fax written requests for affidavits to: (512) 776-7544.
Obtaining an Affidavit In Person
Requests for an affidavit may be made in-person at:
Texas Department of State Health Services
1100 West 49th Street
Austin, Texas 78756
NOTE: No requests will be filled at the time of hand-delivery.
All affidavit forms will be mailed to you via U.S. Postal Service.
Texas Pre-College Vaccination Requirements
The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) requires all students attending 7th through 12th grades to have one dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) on or after the student’s 11th birthday, or show valid proof of exemption. Consequently, with these school requirements, some students entering institutions of higher education may already satisfy college entry requirements if they were vaccinated within the past five years. However, many students entering institutions of higher education will need to receive a booster dose of meningococcal vaccine at least ten days before the first day of class. Students should check their immunization records to see if they will need a dose of meningococcal vaccine.