University Students Required to Get Vaccine by New State Law
Posted: 1/5/12

University Students Required
to Get Vaccine by New Texas Law

There's something new for returning and  first-time Texas A&M International University students this Spring:  All must provide proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination.

A new state law passed by the Legislature earlier this year, became effective Jan. 1 and requires all college-bound new students, transfer students and returning students provide proof of vaccination.

The Jamie Schanbaum and Nicolis Williams Act requires that a bacterial meningitis vaccine be administered to new college students under 30, transfer students and students who have been away from school for a semester or more. Anyone whose vaccination is more than five years old must get a booster.

Students must provide evidence of vaccination or evidence of having declined the vaccination. Evidence to decline vaccination requires an affidavit or a certificate signed by a physician duly registered to practice medicine in the U.S. It must state that in the doctor’s opinion, the vaccination required would be injurious to the health or well-being of the students.

A student may also decline the vaccination for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief. A conscientious exemption form, https://webds.dshs.state.tx.us/immco/affidavit.shtm, from the Texas Department of State Health Services, must be used. Please allow several weeks for delivery.

Students are strongly encouraged to receive the vaccination.

Spring 2012 classes start Tuesday, Jan. 17.

The law is named after two students who were afflicted with meningitis. Schanbaum, a student from the University of Texas, lost most of her fingers and both feet because of the disease. Earlier this year, Texas A&M student Williams died of complications from meningitis. He lived off campus and wasn’t required to get the vaccine.

The City of Laredo Health Department offers the immunization for $8. Contact the Health Department at 723-2051 for more information on their immunization program.

For more information on meningitis: http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/about/faq.html

For more information, visit the TAMIU Student Health Services online at http://www.tamiu.edu/wellness/stuhealth.shtml or in the Student Center, room 125 or call 956-326-2235.

University offices will close on Monday, Jan. 16 in a State-authorized observance of Martin Luther King Day.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu