Beginning January 2014, Texas State law (SB 62) mandates that all entering students under the age of 22 provide a certificate signed by a health care provider or an official immunization record verifying that a student has been vaccinated against bacterial meningitis, or has received a booster during the five years prior to registration. Students may also submit proof of approved conscience exemption from the Texas Department of State Health Services (see below for more information).
What is bacterial meningitis?
On the Apply Texas application (https://www.applytexas.org/adappc/html/bacterialmeningitis.html) where you completed your application for admission to UH, the State of Texas provides information on bacterial meningitis, a serious, potentially deadly disease that can progress extremely fast. Please consult a physician about the need for the immunization against bacterial meningitis to prevent the disease. More information can also be found at the website for the Center for Disease Control.
Who is required to comply with the Meningitis Vaccination Law?
- All newly admitted students under the age of 22
- Students under the age of 22 who are returning to the university after an absence of at least one fall or spring semester
The date of the vaccination or receipt of the booster must fall within the last five years and at least 10 days before the start of the semester as indicated below:
- Spring 2014 term - January 3, 2014
- Summer 2014 term - May 23, 2014
- Fall 2014 term - August 15, 2014
- A Proof of Bacterial Meningitis Immunization Compliance Form containing the required information with the signature or stamp of a physician or his/her designee, or public health personnel*. The form must be completed fully, including the month, day, and year the vaccination dose or booster was administered.
- An official immunization record generated from a state or local health authority. Documentation must be in English and submitted with the Proof of Bacterial Meningitis Immunization Compliance Form.
- An affidavit or a certificate signed by a physician who is duly registered and licensed to practice medicine in the United States, and in which it is stated that, in the physician’s opinion, the vaccination required would be injurious to the health and well being of the student. Documentation must be in English and submitted with the Proof of Bacterial Meningitis Immunization Compliance Form.
- A Texas Department of State Health Services conscience exemption form
- An official record received from school officials, including a record from another state
All documentation must include the month, date, and year that the vaccine or booster dose was administered.
*Please read the compliance form instructions carefully. All students must choose either option 1 or 2 and fully complete the document. The Proof of Bacterial Meningitis Immunization Compliance Form must have the health professional's signature and credentials and be submitted with attachments to UH.
What is considered an acceptable meningitis vaccine?
The Meningitis vaccination recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (MCV4 and MPSV4) offers protection for Meningitis groups A, C, Y and W-135. The MCV4 and MPSV4 are the only vaccines currently accepted. Please visit the CDC website for additional information.
The Texas Department of State Health Services agrees with the CDC recommendations.
The American College Health Association Immunization Guidelines agrees with the CDC recommendation.
Which students are exempt from receiving the vaccination?
- Students 22 years of age or older by the first class day of the semester
- Students who provide:
- An affidavit or a certificate signed by a physician who is duly registered and licensed to practice medicine in the United States, and in which it is stated that, in the physician’s opinion, the vaccination required would be injurious to the health and well being of the student
- A Texas Department of State Health Services conscience exemption form
How much time do I have to comply with the vaccination requirements?
- Newly admitted students should obtain the required vaccination or booster and documentation upon submitting your application.*
- Returning students should obtain the required vaccination or booster and submit documentation before they will be able to register for the semester.
*Proof of vaccination is not required to be considered for admission.
Once I submit my documentation, how do I know if it has been approved?
Students can log in to the myUH self-service account and access their student account. From the left-hand navigation menu, select "Student Center". Any holds on a student's account are always listed in the right-hand column of the Student Center page. The student can be assured that the documentation was approved once the "Bacterial Meningitis" hold is removed.
What are the common reasons you would not accept my documentation for proof of bacterial meningitis immunization?
The most common reasons that student documentation may not be accepted and have to be resubmitted include:
- Record is not legible – the copy is not clear or important information is cut-off.
- Documentation is not recognized – many doctors will use their own form of abbreviation or documentation that cannot be deciphered.
- Incomplete dates – dates must include the day, month and year.
- Invalid vaccine – documentation submitted does not include the specific type of bacterial meningitis vaccine or is for an unacceptable vaccine.
What happens if I don’t provide the necessary documentation?
- You will not be able to register for classes until the proper documentation is received.
- A registration hold will be placed on your myUH account, and a “pending” item will remain on your student checklist.
- For new students: This hold will prevent you from registering for classes at New Student Conferences—so students must fulfill this requirement before or upon arrival to their New Student Conference.
Where can students get the bacterial meningitis vaccine (including those without insurance)?
Students with insurance
The bacterial meningitis vaccine is available at most doctors' offices and private clinics, many large pharmacy chains, and some minor emergency centers or medi-clinics. It is recommended that the student call to schedule an appointment to confirm that the facility offers the vaccine and accepts their insurance. The UH Health Center offers the bacterial meningitis vaccine for a cost to admitted students, but the health care providers mentioned above may be able to provide the vaccine at a lower cost.
Students with Medicaid or CHIP
The first option for students who have Medicaid or CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Plan) should be to contact his/her established healthcare provider to see if they offer the vaccine.
Students without insurance or whose insurance doesn’t cover the bacterial meningitis vaccine
- If the student is 18 or younger, he/she may qualify for the Texas Vaccines for Children Program. Call the United Way's referral helpline, by dialing 211, to find healthcare providers in the area who participate in this program.
- Many Texas city/county health departments offer free or low-cost meningococcal vaccine as part of children and adult immunization programs. The student should call to confirm that they offer the bacterial meningitis vaccine for the student’s age and specific circumstances. This link provides additional information on these services: "Full Service" City/County Health Departments in Texas.
- The UH Health Center offers the bacterial meningitis vaccine for a cost to admitted students. A student should call ahead to schedule an appointment and should receive the vaccination in time to meet registration deadlines.
I’m an international student. Will a vaccination from my home country fulfill UH’s requirement?
Yes, a vaccination record from a country outside the U.S.. will meet the requirements. If the vaccination record is in a language other than English, we will need an English translation of the document.
How far in advance should I plan to arrive in the U.S.. in order to receive the vaccine/booster shot?
If you plan to receive the vaccine in the U.S., you should arrive no later than 2 weeks prior to the first day of classes. You must receive the vaccination at least 10 days before the first day of classes for the semester, and you will be required to wait 10 days after your vaccination date to move into campus housing.
As an international student, can I present medical documentation from my country in order to get an exemption due to medical reasons?
Unfortunately, the law requires that you visit a doctor in the U.S.. to be able to get an exemption for medical reasons. We recommend that you bring an English translation of your records with you, so that you can present them to a U.S. physician. You will need to make sure that your travel arrangements will give you sufficient time to visit a doctor in the U.S..
As an international student, how can I get an exemption for reasons of conscience?
You must follow the same guidelines and procedures outlined for domestic students. Please visit the Texas Department of State Health Services for more information.
Where do I send the required documentation?
For faster processing, write your myUH ID number on the top right corner of document.
Mail document to:
University of Houston
Office of Admissions
4400 University Drive
Houston, TX 77204-2023
UH Main Campus
Email scanned documents to*:
Fax documents to*:
Please be sure to write student’s myUH ID at the top of each page. The fax should include all documents in a single transmission.
*Note: Affidavits from physicians stating that the immunization would be detrimental to the student's health, or Conscience Objector Affidavits from the Texas Department of State Health Services are NOT accepted by email or fax. Those affidavits must have originals submitted in person or by mail.
Who do I call if I still have questions?
Please direct your questions to the UH Enrollment Services Call Center at 713-743-1010, option 3.