The purpose of the recommended immunization schedule is to protect infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Vaccines contain only a tiny fraction of the antigens that babies encounter in their environment every day. Children do not receive any known benefits from following schedules that delay vaccines. We do know that delaying vaccines puts children at known risk of becoming ill with vaccine-preventable diseases.
Exemptions for Medical Reasons
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) considers vaccines to be very safe and encourages all Texans to be vaccinated according to the ACIP recommended schedule. DSHS recognizes, however, that for a small number of people, there may be valid medical reasons for which they cannot receive certain vaccines. For school and childcare attendance, the state allows for medical exemptions to accommodate these individuals. Schools and childcare facilities should accept medical exemptions that are signed by a US-licensed MD or DO and clearly state a medical reason the person cannot receive specific vaccines. Unless the exemption states a lifelong condition, the exemption is only valid for one year.
Requesting an Exemption for Reasons of Conscience
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 form must be submitted to the school or child-care facility within 90 days from the date it is notarized. 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.