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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 a statement signed by the child's physician (M.D. or D.O.), duly registered and licensed to practice medicine in the United States who has examined the child, in which it is stated 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 any member of the child'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, a signed affidavit must be presented by the child's parent or legal guardian, stating that the child's parent or legal guardian declines vaccinations for reasons of conscience, including because of the person's religious beliefs. The affidavit will be valid for a two-year period. The child, 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 public health.

    (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 written request to the department. The request must include the following:

      (i) full name of child; and

      (ii) child's date of birth (month/day/year).

    (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 at (512) 458-7544;

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

      (iv) via the department's Immunization program Internet website (go to www.ImmunizeTexas.org).

    (C) Upon request, one affidavit form for each child will be mailed unless otherwise specified (shall not exceed a maximum of five forms per child).

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

  (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

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