New flu vaccine policy will protect our community

September 23, 2015  //  FOUND IN: Announcements

Everyone at our health system has a responsibility to protect our patients, families and each other from the spread of disease. This year we’re taking our commitment to the health and wellness of our community one step further by requiring all employees to receive the flu vaccine.

Under the new influenza vaccination policy, all workforce members must receive their annual vaccine by Dec. 1, 2015 or an approved exemption. Those with an approved exemption are required to wear a mask for the entire flu season before they can enter any clinical building where we provide patient care or where patients may be present. Wearing a mask if you are not vaccinated protects our vulnerable patient population and also protects you, your family, and colleagues from getting sick.

This policy applies to everyone who works at our health system, including regular and temporary staff, faculty, students, trainees, vendors, contract personnel and volunteers, regardless of clinical responsibility or patient contact. This includes Medical School employees and those who work in non-clinical settings.

Health systems across the country have already adopted this best practice, which is proven to reduce the spread of flu.

There are many opportunities to get your flu shot at UMHS, including free flu clinics in September and October. Vaccines are also available at Occupational Health Services in the Med Inn Building or from clinical unit flu liaisons. Make sure to have your UMHS ID badge and medical record number (MRN) ready when you arrive. You’ll receive a sticker for your UMHS employee ID badge after getting the shot.

If you get your flu shot at your doctor’s office, pharmacy or any other location outside of UMHS, make sure to get documentation on paper with your name on it. Give this to your department’s compliance contact so they can record it and give you a sticker for your ID badge.

If you have a religious belief or medical condition that prevents you from receiving the flu vaccine, you may submit an exemption form to Occupational Health Services for review by Nov. 1, 2015. Employees who receive an exemption must put on a mask before entering any clinical care building. Later this year, the Infection Prevention and Epidemiology team will notify everyone when flu season begins, which will alert those who received an exemption to start wearing a mask before they enter clinical buildings.

More information about this year’s flu prevention program, including Frequently Asked Questions, is available on our Flu Website.

Thank you for doing your part to protect our patients, families, visitors and employees from the spread of flu.