A Message from VUMC Executive Leadership

As with previous years, all VUMC faculty and staff must receive an annual influenza vaccination or receive an approved exemption by December 2, 2019.  The annual influenza requirement is intended to protect the health of all patients and their family members, coworkers, and the greater Vanderbilt community.   Additionally, all employees previously grandfathered into measles compliance with a record of only 1 MMR vaccine will need to document a second vaccine or an approved exemption by December 2, 2019 to be considered up-to-date.

We know from past experience that the overwhelming majority of team members embrace the VUMC immunization  requirements and become compliant. However, VUMC faculty or staff members who remain non-compliant with the policy requirements after December 2, 2019, may no longer be allowed to perform their normal responsibilities and may face disciplinary action. 

VUMC staff members who remain non-compliant with the policy requirements after December 2,2019, , will be placed on unpaid leave. These employees may return to work once they have documented that the vaccination has been received or for the influenza vaccination when the flu season has ended on or around April 1, 2020 (when flu season is over), whichever is  sooner.

VUMC faculty members (clinical and non-clinical) who remain non-compliant with the policy requirements after December 2, 2019, will lose access to all VUMC systems that require a VUNet ID. Access will be restored once they have documented that the vaccination has been received or for the influenza vaccination on or around April 1, 2020  (when flu season is over), whichever is sooner.

Influenza vaccination exemption requests must be submitted here by October 1, 2019. An exemption 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). Masks are already available on all units.

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 our immunization policy for both the annual influenza vaccination and the second MMR given the resurgence in measles cases in the US.  . In addition, The American Nursing Association has  supported mandatory influenza requirements for all health care personnel, and the National Patient Safety Foundation named influenza vaccination of all team members as a "must do" practice to ensure patient safety. . These changes are an important step to ensuring the safety of our community. Please remember Flulapalooza® is being held September 25, 2019 from 6am – 6pm which is an ideal opportunity to receive your influenza vaccination.

We thank you for everything you do to make medicine kinder and safer.

Sincerely,
Marilyn Dubree
Executive Chief Nursing Officer
Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D.
Chief Medical Officer for the Vanderbilt Medical Group
Chief Patient Experience and Service Officer