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Bacterial Meningitis



All entering college and university students are required to show proof of an initial meningococcal vaccination or a booster dose within five years from the first day of the school semester. They must get the vaccine at least 10 days before the semester begins.

Students must fulfill this requirement if they meet any of the following:

  • a first-time student of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education

  • a transfer student

  • a student who previously attended an institution of higher education, 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

The following students are exempt from the vaccine requirement:

  • a student 22 years of age or older by the first day of the semester

  • a student enrolled only in online or other distance education courses

  • a student enrolled in a continuing education course or program that is less than 360 contact hours

  • you cannot take the vaccine because of medical reasons (must be verified by physician)

  • you decline the vaccine due to reasons of conscience, including a religious belief. PLEASE NOTE: Before you will be allowed to register for classes, you must complete an original, Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) Vaccine Exemption Affidavit Form. This is the only acceptable documentation for this exemption, and this process takes a significant amount of time. Begin well in advance of your intended registration date.

We will accept any ONE of the following:

  • A document bearing the signature or stamp of a physician or the physician’s designee or the public health official that administered the vaccination that shows the month, day and year the required vaccine was administered;

  • A copy of an official immunization record issued by a licensed health care provider or local health authority in your country;

  • If you are already in the United States, a copy of an official record received directly from a Texas school official or a school official in another state.

  • Disclaimer: School immunization records will not be accepted from the student.

Required documentation must:

  • Be written in English;

  • State the name and other information sufficient to identify the individual who received the required vaccination; and

  • Clearly identify that the required vaccine was administered to the individual.

Failure to submit immunization records in a timely fashion will prevent registering for classes

Instructions to submit documents to Student Health Services: Gather the required documentation as indicated on The Meningococcal Meningitis Vaccine Requirement Form. To prevent delays in processing paperwork and removing holds, please submit documentation at least two weeks prior to registering for classes.

Submit your immunization records to UTSA Student Health Services by one of four ways: in person, by fax, by mail or by email.

    UTSA Student Health Services
    One UTSA Circle, RWC 1.500
    San Antonio, TX 78249
    Fax: (210) 458-4151
    Email: StudentHealthServices@utsa.edu

Records from School

Please instruct your school to send records directly to UTSA Student Health Services by any of the above methods. Under the statute, school immunization records must be emailed, mailed or faxed directly from the school to Student Health Services.

PLEASE NOTE:
Submission of documents will be processed from Monday to Friday between the hours of 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Any documents emailed or faxed after 4:00 pm will be processed on the next business day (within 24 business hours). Hold removals and processing are not conducted on weekends and holidays.

Submission of documents to Student Health Services will not remove holds automatically. Inadequate documents will delay a hold removal and if this occurs, we will call or email you. Please check the status of your hold through your ASAP account after 24 business hours.

Q: Why is the Meningococcal Meningitis vaccination required?
A: Effective January 1, 2012, a State of Texas law requires all students who are new to UTSA and under the age of 22 as of the first day of classes, must present written proof of having received the Meningococcal Meningitis vaccination within the last five years.

Q: Where and how do I submit my Meningococcal Meningitis immunization records?
A: Submit your immunization records to UTSA Student Health Services one of four ways: in person, by fax, by mail or by email.


    UTSA Student Health Services
    One UTSA Circle, RWC 1.500
    San Antonio, TX 78249
    Fax: (210) 458-4151
    Email: StudentHealthServices@utsa.edu
   Call (210) 458-6412 with any questions.

Q: If the Meningococcal Meningitis vaccine is not available in my area, what are my options?
A: Vaccination is available at
    •   San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (210) 207-8790
    •   Student Health Services Main campus clinic at (210) 458-4142 select option 2 or the downtown campus clinic at 458-2930 by appointment or
    •   Consult your personal physician for possible options.

You must have the vaccination at least 10 days before the start of classes.

Q. What will the cost be if I decide to be vaccinated at UTSA?
A. The cost is $80. We accept cash, check, and credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover).

Q: What if I do not submit my documentation or my Meningococcal Meningitis vaccination took place more recently than 10 days before?
A: Incomplete documentation may delay the process of class registration. You will be unable to register for classes at UTSA until the completed documentation is received and the vaccination is at least 10 days past.

Q: Are there any exceptions to the Meningococcal Meningitis requirement?
A: The types of exceptions and instructions on how to file are found on the Affidavit tab on this page.

Q: What type of documentation will you need to confirm that I've had an acceptable vaccination?
A:We will accept any ONE of the following:

  • A document bearing the signature or stamp of a physician or the physician’s designee or the public health official that administered the vaccination that shows the month, day and year the required vaccine was administered;

  • A copy of an official immunization record issued by a licensed health care provider or local health authority in your country;

  • If you are already in the United States, a copy of official record received directly from a Texas school official or a school official in another state.

Disclaimer: School immunization records will not be accepted from the student.

Required documentation must:

  • Be written in English;

  • State the name and other information sufficient to identify the individual who received the required vaccination; and

  • Clearly identify that the required vaccine was administered to the individual.

Q. How can I verify that my records have been received?
A. Check your ASAP account to verify if your hold has been removed. We will call or email you if additional information is needed. If you have not received a phone call or an email message and you still have the hold, please call (210) 458-6412.

Please be sure that your name, birth date, and doctor/clinic name are listed on EACH page of your documentation.

Bacterial Meningitis is a serious, potentially deadly disease that can progress extremely fast – so take the utmost caution. It is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. The bacterium that causes meningitis can also infect the blood. This disease strikes about 3,000 Americans each year, including 100-125 on college campuses, leading to 5-15 deaths among college students every year. There is a treatment, but those who survive may develop severe health problems or disabilities.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • High fever

  • Rash or purple patches on skin

  • Severe headache

  • Light sensitivity

  • Confusion and sleepiness

  • Lethargy

  • Vomiting

  • Stiff neck

  • Nausea

  • Seizures

There may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots caused by bleeding under the skin. These can occur anywhere on the body. The more symptoms, the higher the risk, so when these symptoms appear seek immediate medical attention.

HOW IS BACTERIAL MENINGITIS DIAGNOSED?

Diagnosis is made by a medical provider and is usually based on a combination of clinical symptoms and laboratory results from spinal fluid and blood tests.

Early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve the likelihood of recovery.

HOW IS THE DISEASE TRANSMITTED?

The disease is transmitted when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing, or by sharing drinking containers, utensils, cigarettes, toothbrushes, etc.) or come in contact with respiratory or throat secretions.

HOW DO YOU INCREASE YOUR RISK OF GETTING BACTERIAL MENINGITIS?

Exposure to saliva by sharing cigarettes, water bottles, eating utensils, food, kissing, etc.

Living in close conditions (such as sharing a room/suite in a dorm or group home).

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF THE DISEASE?

  • Death
  • Hearing loss, blindness
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Coma
  • Kidney failure
  • Learning disability
  • Convulsions
  • Limb damage (fingers, toes, arms, legs) that requires amputation

CAN THE DISEASE BE TREATED?

  • Antibiotic treatment, if received early, can save lives and chances of recovery are increased.
  • However, permanent disability or death can still occur.
  • Vaccinations are available and should be considered for those living in close quarters, college students 25 years old or younger.
  • Vaccinations are effective against 4 of the 5 most common bacterial types that cause 70% of the disease in the U.S. (but does not protect against all types of meningitis).
  • Vaccinations take 7-10 days to become effective, with protection lasting 3-5 years.
  • The cost of vaccine varies, so check with your health care provider.
  • Vaccination is very safe – most common side effects are redness and minor pain at injection site for up to two days.
  • Vaccination is available at San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (210) 207-8790, Student Health Services Main campus (210) 458-4142 and select option 2 or Downtown campus clinic at (210) 458-2930 or your personal physician.

HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION?

  • Contact your own health care provider.
  • Contact Student Health Services at (210) 458-4142 and select option 3 or 458-2930.
  • Contact your local or regional Texas Department of Health Office at (210)207-8790.
  • Contact web sites: www.cdc.gov/meningitis/index.html or www.acha.org


Conscientious Objection form

Students must use the official Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) form. The TDSHS form may be ordered electronically. It is then mailed from TDSHS to the student and it may take up to two weeks to receive the form.

The TDSHS form must be completed, notarized, and sent to Student Health Services within 90 days from the date it was notarized. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the TDSHS form and have it notarized. Information about requesting the TDSHS affidavit form is available here: https://webds.dshs.state.tx.us/immco/affidavit.shtm.

Mail to or bring in-person:
The University of Texas at San Antonio
Student Health Services
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249

The affidavit must be completely filled out, signed in the correct areas, and notarized. We accept originals only. Incomplete forms or photocopies will not be accepted and may delay the process of class registration.