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RULE §97.62Exclusions from Compliance

Exclusions from compliance are allowable on an individual basis for medical contraindications, reasons of conscience, including a religious belief, and active duty with the armed forces of the United States. Children and students in these categories must submit evidence for exclusion from compliance as specified in the Health and Safety Code, §161.004(d), Health and Safety Code, §161.0041, Education Code, Chapter 38, Education Code, Chapter 51, and the Human Resources Code, Chapter 42.

  (1) To claim an exclusion for medical reasons, the child or student must present an exemption statement to the school or child-care facility, dated and signed by a physician (M.D. or D.O.), properly licensed and in good standing in any state in the United States who has examined the child or student. The statement must state that, in the physician's opinion, the vaccine required is medically contraindicated or poses a significant risk to the health and well-being of the child or student or any member of the child's or student's household. Unless it is written in the statement that a lifelong condition exists, the exemption statement is valid for only one year from the date signed by the physician.

  (2) To claim an exclusion for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief, the child's parent, legal guardian, or a student 18 years of age or older must present to the school or child-care facility a completed, signed and notarized affidavit on a form provided by the department stating that the child's parent, legal guardian, or the student declines vaccinations for reasons of conscience, including because of the person's religious beliefs. The affidavit will be valid for a two-year period from the date of notarization. A child or student, who has not received the required immunizations for reasons of conscience, including religious beliefs, may be excluded from school in times of emergency or epidemic declared by the commissioner of the department.

    (A) 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, fax, mail, or hand-delivery) to the department. The request must include the following information:

      (i) full name of child or student;

      (ii) child's or student's date of birth (month/day/year);

      (iii) complete mailing address, including telephone number; and

      (iv) number of requested affidavit forms (not to exceed 5).

    (B) Requests for affidavit forms must be submitted to the department through one of the following methods:

      (i) written request through the United States Postal Service (or other commercial carrier) to the department at: DSHS Immunization Branch, Mail code 1946, P.O. Box 149347, Austin, Texas 78714-9347;

      (ii) by facsimile to (512) 776-7544;

      (iii) by hand-delivery to the department's physical address at 1100 West 49th Street, Austin, Texas 78756; or

      (iv) via the department's Immunization program website (at www.ImmunizeTexas.com).

    (C) The department will mail the requested affidavit form(s) (not to exceed five forms per child or student) to the specified mailing address.

    (D) The department shall not maintain a record of the names of individuals who request an affidavit and shall return the original documents (when applicable) with the requested affidavit forms.

  (3) To claim an exclusion for armed forces, persons who can prove that they are serving on active duty with the armed forces of the United States are exempted from the requirements in these sections.

Source Note: The provisions of this §97.62 adopted to be effective April 1, 2004, 29 TexReg 3188; amended to be effective December 16, 2007, 32 TexReg 9125; amended to be effective July 28, 2016, 41 TexReg 5422

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