Deadline Extended for Proof of Meningitis Vaccination

Students who are under 30 years of age and entering Amarillo College for either the first time or following a semester or more absence now have until Jan. 17 (the first day of the spring semester) to demonstrate proof of inoculation against bacterial meningitis and, thus, become eligible to enroll in spring classes.

The deadline has been extended by 10 days, from Jan. 7 to Jan. 17, in concordance with the law and in response to factors that have made it difficult for many students to comply with the new state mandate.

"The limited availability of affordable vaccines coupled with the challenge of communicating this new rule to our constituents has made the registration process difficult for many," according to Robert Austin, vice president of student affairs. "Extending the deadline to Jan. 17 seems like the right thing to do."

Under the requirements of the law recently enacted by the Texas State Legislature, students who are under 30 years of age and entering higher education in the spring of 2012 must demonstrate proof of inoculation against bacterial meningitis.

There are exceptions, like for those 30 and above; however, entering students will be required in 2012 to supply evidence of a bacterial meningitis vaccination, or booster dose, during the five-year period prior to the first day of class.

An entering student is defined as a student new to higher education, a transfer student from another college, or a returning student who has had a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester.

Amarillo College students who are currently enrolled and plan to return for the spring semester will not be required to submit proof of vaccination.

Exemptions allowed by law are:

* Students 30 years of age or older

* Students enrolled only in online or other distance-learning courses

* Students who submit an affidavit or certificate signed by a duly licensed physician that states, in the physician’s opinion, that the vaccination would be injurious to the health and well-being of the student

* Students who submit an affidavit signed by the student stating that the student declines the vaccination for reasons of conscience, including religious belief. A conscientious exemption form (“Affidavit Request for Exemption from Immunizations for Reasons of Conscience”) from the Texas Department of State Health Services must be used. Allow several weeks to submit and have the form approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services

For questions, please call AskAC at 806-371-5000.

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