The state of Texas normally requires children who are educated in the public schools to be vaccinated according to Texas Department of Health vaccine recommendations.

However, for those who decide not to vaccinate, or if there is already documented evidence of vaccine reactions, there are 3 legal exemptions available to parents.

1. Medical Exemptions. A medical exemption is available for a child if that child has already shown evidence of a minor or major reaction to a vaccine.

This exemption must be written by a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.). Whether a child qualifies is a judgment call on the part of the physician.

Report any vaccine reaction immediately to your doctor and document it on paper, on video, or with pictures. This includes fevers, swelling or redness at the site, or distress exhibited by the child, such as sleeping an unusually long period of time after a vaccination, screaming or crying inconsolably, seizures, or anything else out of the ordinary for your child.

A medical exemption will hold up for that child in case of a national state of emergency that might require mandatory vaccination.

2. Philosophical or Conscientious Objection Exemption. In 2003, the Texas Legislature passed a law that allows for a vaccine exemption for “reasons of conscience” including religious reasons.

This means that if you decide for any reason, including a religious belief that it is not in your child’s best interest to vaccinate, you may claim this exemption. Public schools, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc., are required by law to accept this exemption. Private schools and daycare facilities may or may not accept this exemption.

To claim a philosophical exemption, you must write to the Texas Department of Health (TDH) and request up to 5 official exemption forms per child. Go to their website for a sample letter.

You will need one form for each school, day care facility, sports, Boy or Girl Scout organization, or other institution requiring “proof of vaccination.” When you receive the forms from the TDH, you must have them notarized (most banks provide free notary public service for their customers or you can find a notary public in the phone directory) and then present them to those schools or other facilities or activities instead of a vaccine record.

Any institution that receives public funding MUST accept this exemption and allow your child to attend and participate.

3. Religious exemption. The religious exemption is an option for those who are “conscientious objectors for religious reasons” to vaccinating children. It is not Constitutionally legal for a school district to demand proof by asking your religious affiliation, demand to see your church’s doctrinal statement, or in any way intimidate, interrogate or demand further “proof” of your religious belief – but many try to do so. There are some similarities between this and the philosophical exemption.

For additional, up-to-date information on vaccine exemption information, please click on this link to PROVE (Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education) or type into your web browser for the state of Texas.
For other states or national vaccine information and news, please go to the NVIC (National Vaccine Information Center) website for more information on the exemptions available.


The information contained herein is not to be construed as legal or medical advice. The authors and website owners assume no responsibility for the accuracy, outcome or results of use or misuse of any information presented. Please check with your state department of education, or the National Vaccine Information Center for further information on exemptions available in other states.

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