July 9, 2015

Update approved for VUMC Faculty and Staff Immunization Policy

Members of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Medical Board recently approved updates to the VUMC Immunization Policy for Faculty and Staff. The updates, adopted in June, are intended to protect the health of all patients and their family members, co-workers, and the greater Vanderbilt community.

As of July 1, 2015, all VUMC faculty and staff who are currently non-compliant with the mandatory immunization requirements for the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), Varicella (chickenpox), and Hepatitis B vaccines must achieve compliance (documentation of immunity, vaccination or approved exemption) by Dec. 1, 2015.

If an individual lacks documentation of compliance for one of the required immunizations they will be notified in a separate communication from the Vanderbilt Occupational Health Clinic.

In addition, all VUMC faculty and staff must receive an annual influenza vaccination or be exempted from vaccination by Dec. 1, 2015, unless the Department of Infection Control and Prevention determines an earlier deadline may be necessary to meet the demands for this year’s flu season.

“We know from past experience that the overwhelming majority of team members will embrace the immunization requirements and become compliant,” said Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D. Chief Medical Officer for the Vanderbilt Medical Group and VUMC’s Chief Patient Experience and Service Officer. “The Medical Center’s leadership has reviewed current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with best practices for employee vaccinations at other leading health systems, and we are committed to this decision. These changes are an important step to ensuring the safety of our community.”

All faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to carefully review the consequences for non-compliance that are outlined in the updated VUMC Immunization Policy. VUMC faculty or staff members who remain non-compliant with the policy requirements after Dec. 1, 2015, may no longer be allowed to perform their normal responsibilities and could face disciplinary action.

Immunization exemption requests for MMR, Varicella, annual influenza and Hepatitis B (if applicable) must be submitted here by Oct. 1, 2015. An exemption for an immunization requirement may be requested for: 1) a medical reason or severe allergy to a vaccine component or 2) a deeply held religious or spiritual belief. During flu season, those with approved exemptions from influenza vaccination will have the ability to work by wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth while in patient care areas (both procedural and diagnostic).