Health Data Form FAQs

I sent in my Health Data Form (HDF). How can I check to make sure the form was received and is complete?

After we receive the form and verify that all sections are properly completed, we will upload status changes to the ESTHER system. Usually, it takes one to three business days for us to process forms after we receive them. If your status on ESTHER indicates that the "student health services hold" -- and "meningitis vaccination hold" -- has/have been removed (i.e., these holds are not present) then you can be certain that a completed form has been received. PLEASE DO NOT e-mail or call to see if your form has been received.

What if I am an international student and need to have tuberculosis screening (PPD test) done in the US, but will not be arriving in the US until late summer?

If your health data form is otherwise complete (i.e., all other sections have been properly completed) you may send in the form and obtain TB testing after arrival in the US. Indicate your intentions by writing on the form in the TB screening section, "will get upon arrival in the US" and also attach a cover letter stating this. Make a copy of these documents for yourself and send the form. Your form will not be considered late, but it will be considered incomplete until the TB testing is done. Keep in mind that TB testing is a 2-step process. After the test is placed, by injection, you must return 48 hours later to have the test read. The test is not complete until a health care professional has interpreted the results and signed appropriate documentation. Your health data form will be considered complete when we receive the TB screening documentation.

How recent must the physical exam be?

The physical exam must be within one year prior to the start of classes and must be filled out on the Rice Student Health Data Form (HDF).

What if I lost all of my immunization documentation? I know I received all the shots as a child, but I can't find my records.

If you WERE vaccinated as a child, but the records were lost then you need to obtain boosters, and provide documentation, for dT(Tetanus-diphtheria), MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella), meningococcal meningitis, and polio. If this is the case then your physician should indicate that previous childhood vaccination records are lost or unavailable, and then administer and document the booster vaccinations. Alternatively, you may provide lab testing (titres), where applicable, indicating immunity. (Of course, you must still complete the TB screening requirements.)

I never received any immunizations as a child. What should I do?

If for some reason you did not receive ANY vaccinations during childhood, then you will need to start on the appropriate series. There are specific guidelines ( for how these vaccinations are done for an adult not previously immunized. Your physician should know this and should be able to start you on the various immunization series. Your physician should indicate on the form that you are a previously unimmunized adult and are starting on the adult series. Your physician should indicate the immunizations given and then write in the expected dates for future immunizations (i.e., the anticipated immunization schedule). Some of these you will complete before you leave for Rice, others may need to be done after arrival (we can refer you to a clinic in the area that can provide these vaccinations). You should make a copy of the form and send it in after you have received the first group of vaccinations. When you receive additional vaccinations obtain a copy of the documentation and send it to us, or bring it to us when you arrive on campus. As long as you have started the required series with the intent of completing them, then you will be able to register.

Why does the immunization section specify that TB skin testing (PPD) must be done regardless of whether BCG was administered in childhood?

Although BCG does protect against some forms of childhood tuberculosis often this protection does not carry over into adulthood. Previous BCG vaccination may cause a reaction with PPD testing but the response is usually <10 mm of induration. A response that is 15mm or greater generally means that the person has latent TB infection (LTBI) and should be treated accordingly. Therefore testing is currently recommended regardless of prior BCG vaccination.

"A history of BCG vaccination, with or without a BCG scar, should not influence the decision regarding whether to treat LTBI. The criteria previously described should be applied without modification (164)." -- from the CDC website.

What if I don’t know my Rice ID# yet?

If you do not yet have a Rice ID# you may leave that section blank, however, this will delay the processing of your form. If at all possible please find out what your student ID number is and include this on the form. We cannot clear holds on registration without the student ID #.

I will be purchasing the Rice Health insurance or I’m unsure what my health insurance will be yet, what should I do?

If you plan on purchasing the health insurance plan sponsored through Rice University then write "Rice Plan" in the section on health insurance. If you do not yet know what health insurance carrier you will have while at Rice University then you may leave this section blank. Please note that the Student Health Service at Rice does not administer or manage the student health insurance plan sponsored through Rice.

I’m an undergraduate student (US and international) concerned I won’t be able to get the form in by the June 1 deadline, what should I do?

If you are an undergraduate student and you do not think you can have the form in our office by the indicated deadline, then please submit it as soon as you are able. You do NOT need to send us an email. If you are only missing requirements that you will complete once you arrive in the US, you may submit your partially completed form. NOTE: this does NOT change any of the requirements for completion of the form.

I’m an international student, can I scan the form and include it as an e-mail attachment?

We do not accept emailed health information.

I am a new student (includes transfers). What happens if I don't submit documentation of meningococcal immunization?

Meningococcal vaccination must occur 10 days or more in advance of arrival on campus. On the ESTHER system, a “vaccination hold" indicates that we have not yet received the appropriate documentation. Unless this hold is cleared (appropriate documentation is received by Student Health) a student will not be able to enroll or register for classes.

I am having difficulty getting my health data form completed, can I request an extension?

If you are having difficulty submitting the form by the indicated deadline, please do submit it as soon as possible. You do NOT need to email us for an extension. Housing assignments will be held until the meningitis vaccine requirement has been met (under age 22) and registration for classes will be held until the remainder of the form is complete.

When I log into my ESTHER student account I see a "VA - Vaccination Hold". What does this mean?

The vaccination hold means we have not received documentation of meningococcal meningitis vaccination, or the documentation does not satisfy the requirement. The vaccination hold only references meningococcal meningitis. It does not refer to other required immunizations.

When I log into my ESTHER student account I see a "ME- Student Health Services Hold". What does this mean?

This hold means that your Health Data Form form has either not been received or is incomplete (i.e., is missing required elements).

Is a single vaccination against meningococcal disease acceptable?

Currently, only a single vaccination needs to be documented but it must be within five years of the date classes will start. If you were previously vaccinated against meningococcal meningitis but it has been more than five years (the date classes will start) then you will need another vaccination.

If I have a medical condition or contraindication for a specific vaccination what should I do?

Your physician, who must be licensed to practice in the United States, must submit an affidavit in which it is stated that, in the physician's opinion, the vaccination required is medically contraindicated or would be injurious to the health and well-being of the student.

I am a returning student. Do I need to submit a new health data form?

If you have been away from Rice for LESS than ONE YEAR, you may use your previous health data form. However, please contact our office to inform us that you will be using your old form and to find out if you need to update any vaccines (Tetanus, etc). This also applies to graduate students transitioning from a Rice undergraduate degree.