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Minimum vaccine requirements for child-care, K-12 and higher education in Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott said no Texas entity can require anyone to get a vaccine under emergency use authorization.

TEXAS, USA — Gov. Greg Abbott said no Texas entity can require anyone, including customers and employees, to get a COVID-19 vaccine in his newest executive order

On Oct. 11, Abbott issued the executive order and sent a message to the chief clerk of the Texas House and secretary of the Texas Senate adding the issue as an item to the third legislative special session agenda. The executive order will be rescinded upon passage of such legislation, Abbott said. 

The State of Texas still requires children and students to receive a minimum number of immunizations for child-care and school though, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

These vaccine requirements apply to all children entering, attending, enrolling in or transferring to child-care facilities and public or private primary schools, secondary schools and institutions of higher education in Texas.

They also apply to children admitted, detained or committed in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Department of State Health Services and Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities:

The minimum state requirements for immunizations at childcare facilities differ by age, according to DSHS. Immunizations are required starting at three months.

By 43 months, or just over 3.5-years-old, children must have received at least this many doses of the following vaccines to enter childcare:

  • 4 doses of the diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (DTaP) and Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV) vaccine
  • 3 doses of the polio, Hepatitis B and haemophilus  influenzae type b (Hib) vaccines
  • 2 doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine
  • 1 dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine combined and chickenpox vaccine

The 2021-22 immunization requirements for students entering grades K-12 is as follows, according to DSHS:

DTaP:

  • K-6th grade: 4 or 5 doses
  • 7th grade: 3 doses of the primary series and 1 Tdap booster within the last five years
  • 8-12th grade: 3 doses of the primary series and 1 Tdap booster within the last 10 years

Polio:

  • 4 doses or 3 doses for all students entering grades K-12

MMR:

  • 2 doses for all students entering grades K-12

Hepatitis B:

  • 3 doses for all students entering grades K-12

Chickenpox vaccine:

  • 2 doses for all students entering grades K-12

Meningococcal (MCV4):

  • 1 dose for students entering the 7-12th grades

Hepatitis A:

  • 2 doses required for all students entering grades K-12

College students entering an institution of higher education are only required to show proof of “an initial meningococcal vaccination or a booster dose during the five-year period prior to enrolling,” according to DSHS.

There are exemptions to the immunization requirements. These include medical complications, reasons of conscience such as religion and active duty military status. Children or students can submit a request through DSHS.

More details on specific dosage requirements and timelines can be found on DSHS’s website.

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