Students

Bacterial Meningitis Vaccination Requirement

During the 2011 Texas legislative session, Texas Senate Bill 1107 (SB 1107) was passed and signed into law. Effective January 1, 2012, SB 1107 requires all students under age 22 entering a public or private institution of higher education in Texas to receive a vaccination against bacterial meningitis at least ten days before the first day of the semester, or meet certain criteria for declining such a vaccination. The term “entering student” includes all new students to any DTS campus and returning DTS students to any Texas campus that have taken the most recent fall or spring semester off from enrollment. Any entering student thus defined is required to provide documentation no less than 10 days prior to the first day of classes. Once having received the vaccination please complete the Bacterial Meningitis Form* online, then submit the appropriate documentation as evidence of the vaccination.

Students are strongly encouraged to obtain the bacterial meningitis vaccination before entering the United States or moving to the Dallas area.

If you have any questions, please contact Student Services at 214-887-5360 or by email at studentservices@dts.edu.

Evidence of Vaccination

Evidence of Vaccination must verify that the vaccination was received at least 10 days prior to the first day of the semester and must be submitted in one of the following three formats:

  1. A document bearing the signature or stamp of the physician or his/her designee, or public health personnel (must include the month, day, and year the vaccination was administered).
  2. An official immunization record generated from a state or local health authority (must include the month, day, and year the vaccination was administered).
  3. An official record received from school officials, including a record from another state (must include the month, day, and year the vaccination was administered).

Evidence to Decline Vaccination

Evidence to Decline Vaccination must be submitted in one of the following two formats:

  1. An affidavit or a certificate signed by a physician who is duly registered and licensed to practice medicine in the United States, 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.
  2. An affidavit signed by the student stating that the student declines the vaccination for bacterial meningitis for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.
    • Students living in on-campus accommodation or less than 18 years of age must use the "Exemption from Immunizations for Reasons of Conscience Affidavit Form" from the Texas Department of State Health Services, available here. Affidavits need to be notarized before they are submitted to Student Services*.
    • Students living off campus may use the "Exemption from Immunizations for Bacterial Meningitis for Reasons of Conscience" affidavit from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, available here. Affidavits need to be notarized before they are submitted to Student Services*.

*Students Services provides a notary service free of charge.

Important Considerations

  • You are strongly encouraged to obtain the bacterial meningitis vaccination before entering the United States or moving to the Dallas area
  • You will not be allowed to attend classes until you provide proof of vaccination.
  • The bacterial meningitis vaccination must be administered by a Health Practitioner authorized by law to administer an immunization.
  • Vaccinations older than 5 years will require a booster.
  • The bacterial meningitis vaccination is available at most local pharmacies
  • The cost of the bacterial meningitis vaccination may be cheaper in your home country or through your current physician.

All students must receive the bacterial meningitis vaccination at least 10 days prior to the start of the semester.

How to Submit Evidence of Vaccination or an Affidavit to Decline Vaccination

All documents should be mailed, faxed, emailed or hand-delivered to Student Services.

Mail: Dallas Theological Seminary, Student Services, 3909 Swiss Avenue, Dallas, TX 75204
Fax: 214-887-5535
E-mail: studentservices@dts.edu
Hand Delivery: Student Services, 3rd floor Walvoord Student Center

Important Information about Bacterial Meningitis

This information is being provided to all new college students in the state of Texas. Bacterial Meningitis is a serious, potentially deadly disease that can progress extremely fast – so take utmost caution. It is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. The bacteria that cause 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
  • Severe headache
  • Rash or purple patches on skin
  • Vomiting
  • Light sensitivity
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion and sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • 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 (in 8 to 24 hours from perfectly well to dead)
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Learning disability
  • Hearing loss, blindness
  • Limb damage (fingers, toes, arms, legs) that requires amputation
  • Gangrene
  • Coma
  • Convulsions

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
    • 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.

Where can I find out more information?