As announced previously, prior to requiring vaccination for all employees, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) leaders will be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or exempted by no later than Sept. 15, 2021.

We are now seeing significantly accelerating cases and hospitalizations not only among patients but also in our workforce.

As such, all VUMC employees will be required to be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption from this requirement by no later than Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, as a condition of employment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined the delta variant of the virus is more contagious than smallpox, influenza and Ebola, with a transmissibility rate comparable to chickenpox. The risk of spreading the variant to our patients and coworkers has increased significantly.  

As with other required vaccines, managers will have access to the VUMC Immunization Summary in Tableau (password and VUMC network required). Managers are encouraged to check regularly to ensure their staff are meeting their requirements.

COVID vaccines, which have been proven safe and effective in numerous studies, provide protection against the severity of disease and are essential to slow the spread of the virus and reduce the number of infected persons who will require hospitalization.

In Tennessee, nearly 13,000 people have died from COVID-19. At VUMC, consistent with statewide hospitalizations, the number of admissions for COVID-19 has increased significantly in the past two weeks.

Vaccination against serious communicable diseases is a long-standing VUMC practice. Much like prior vaccination requirements for flu and other infectious diseases, vaccination is especially important to minimize the risk of COVID-19 in the VUMC community, particularly for patients and coworkers who cannot mount a strong response to vaccination themselves.

Full vaccination is accomplished by receiving 2 doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 1 dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. For those who may have been fully vaccinated overseas, VUMC will accept documentation of World Health Organization approved vaccines as satisfying requirements.

To comply with this requirement through VUMC, which administers the 2-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, employees should register to receive their first dose of vaccine by no later Sept. 1, 2021.

Individuals and groups included in VUMC’s COVID vaccine requirements:

All paid and unpaid persons working at VUMC. This includes staff, faculty, fellows, house staff, medical providers with privileges at VUMC, students of VUMC’s Allied Health programs, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM) students, Vanderbilt University employees and students working in VUMC buildings, and VUMC volunteers.

Visiting team members. Includes visiting faculty and other visiting health care providers, fellows, house staff and visiting students.

Just as for flu vaccinations, VUMC will review and consider exemption requests for VUMC employees, Allied Health students, and volunteers.

Please note that working remotely or job duties outside of patient care are not considered reasons for exemption.

Please visit the Occupational Health Employee COVID-19 Vaccine Program website (password required) for full details about the COVID-19 vaccine program, the many options for obtaining your COVID-19 vaccine, how to report vaccinations obtained at places outside VUMC, and how VUMC employees, Allied Health students and volunteers can apply for exemptions.

Others, such as non-VUMC students, should submit their exemption requests to their own schools.

Related links

  • Watch Dr. Balser's video message.
  • Read the transcript.

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