Take Your Best Shot! Occupational Health Answers Your Vaccine and Testing Questions

Dr. Lori Rolando, Medical Director of the Occupational Health Clinic, answers your most pressing questions about vaccines and testing, and the role the Occupational Health Clinic plays in meeting your vaccination and testing needs.

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Bridgette Butler:  Welcome to this edition of the Vanderbilt Health and Wellness Wellcast.  I am Bridgette Butler with Health Plus.  The Occupational Health Clinic offers all Vanderbilt faculty and staff many important services, two of which are vaccinations and testing.  Here to answer your questions about vaccinations and testing is Dr. Lori Rolando, Medical Director of the Occupational Health Clinic.  Welcome, Dr. Rolando.
Dr. Lori Rolando:  Hi!  Thank you for having me.
Bridgette Butler:  We are glad you are here.  We have received a couple of questions about the Occupational Health Clinic and what it offers employees, the first of which is:  I have been reading about measles outbreaks in certain areas of the country.  Who should receive the MMR vaccine?
Dr. Lori Rolando:  The MMR vaccine should be given to everybody who doesn't have a medical reason that they can't receive it, that would make it dangerous for them to receive it.  Typically, it's given to children.  On or after their first birthday, they get their first dose, and then, they need to get their second dose at least 28 days later.  Usually, it is given around the time they start school.  But for adults, if they haven't been vaccinated, or don't have that documentation, or are not sure if they've been vaccinated, typically adults who aren't at increased risk should receive one MMR, but there are certain folks who would need to get two MMR vaccines, and those are individuals who work in a healthcare setting, individuals who are in post-high school educational settings like college students, that sort of thing, and folks who are traveling internationally, because we are seeing a lot of the measles cases are coming in as a result of international travel.  So, making sure that you are protected with two MMR vaccines if you are going to be traveling internationally is important as well.

Bridgette Butler:  Okay.  And does OHC, the Occupational Health Clinic, provide the MMR vaccine?

Dr. Lori Rolando:  We do.  So, for Medical Center employees, we need to make sure that everyone is immune.  So, if they don't have other evidence of immunity, if they don't already have documentation of two vaccines or they don't have blood work that shows that they are immune to measles, if they were born 1957 or after, then we require two MMRs for them, and we provide that vaccine.  People who were born before 1957 are presumed to be immune because it is likely that they had the infection when they were a child because measles cases were common back then.  For Medical Center employees, we provide it because it is a requirement, and so it is provided at no cost.  For others who may want it or need it for personal health reasons, we certainly will provide that as well, and we would just bill their insurance just like any other provider would.

Bridgette Butler:  The next question:  I couldn't make it to Flulapalooza this year.  Does OHC offer flu vaccine to employees outside of this event?

Dr. Lori Rolando:  Absolutely.  We offer the flu vaccine to Medical Center and University employees at any time.  During clinic hours, they can come to the Occupational Health Clinic.  We are open from 7:00 in the morning until 5:30 in the evening Monday through Friday.  So, they can come anytime and get the flu vaccine here.  It is provided to employees at no cost to them.  We also have onsite events throughout flu season.  So, you can come to any onsite event and get the flu vaccine.  You can check our website for the flu calendar to see where we are going to be to come and get the vaccine.  If you would like to request an onsite, if you've got a group of employees who would like to get the vaccine and need us to come to you, please contact us and request that.  And for the Medical Center folks, we also have what's called a "Peer Vaccination Program," so managers of inpatient units and clinics can go to our website to get more information about how to sign up members of your nursing staff to be able to provide vaccines to their co-workers and get that information back to us at Occupational Health.

Bridgette Butler:  Great.  Lots of opportunities.

Dr. Lori Rolando:  We also do what's called a "Late Night Cart," so those folks who are working the overnight shift and things like that, we will go out to the units in the hospitals and sort of take our cart around.  I know Health Plus comes with us to do your numbers at the same time.  So, that's another good opportunity to get your flu shot if you need it.

Bridgette Butler:  And who does need to get the flu shot?

Dr. Lori Rolando:  Everybody age six months and older needs to get their flu shot every year, again, unless they have a medical contraindication to getting it.  It is the most important thing you can do to help prevent the flu in yourself and those around you.  So, the CDC recommends everybody six months of age and older get the flu shot every year.  And for Vanderbilt Medical Center folks, it is a required vaccine each year.

Bridgette Butler:  And we have a third question:  As an employee, is there any reason to get a PPD or tuberculosis skin test?

Dr. Lori Rolando:  Well, Medical Center employees all get TB testing on hire as part of their new employee screening, and that is per CDC recommendations as well.  Typically, it is done with what we would call a two-step skin test, but in certain circumstances, we could potentially do a blood test as well to screen for TB.  Annual TB testing used to be required for Medical Center employees as well, but the CDC recommendations for that have recently changed.  So, our program has changed with the CDC's recommendations.  So, routine annual TB testing isn't required for employees anymore.  We do continue to do testing for employees in the event of an exposure and there are certain research or animal care-related circumstances where individuals may need to continue to get routine skin testing, and we communicate with those folks on an as-needed basis to identify them and let them know about that.  But in general, it's not broadly required for employees.  And then, of course, also, there may be, from an individual health standpoint, individuals with certain medical conditions or who are immunosuppressed, for example, might need to get TB skin tested or TB tested in some way, and that would be a discussion that you would have with your provider.

Bridgette Butler:  Well, thank you so much for answering our questions today and updating us on Occupational Health Clinic's Vaccination and Skin Testing Programs.

Dr. Lori Rolando:  Oh, thank you for very much.  Thanks for the opportunity.
Bridgette Butler:  Thanks for listening.  If you have a story suggestion, please email it to us at health.wellness@vanderbilt.edu or you can use the "Contact Us" page on our website at www.vumc.org/health-wellness.