Policy on Influenza Immunization for University Employees Credentialed by UNC Health Care
This section has been reviewed and updated as needed: August 2012
Support the UNC Health Care strategy for providing a safer environment for healthcare personnel and patients through influenza vaccination.
To protect patients, employees, employees’ family members, and the community from influenza infection through annual immunization of University faculty and staff who are credentialed by UNC Hospital. (e.g., Physicians, Nurses, Physician Assistants, etc.).
This policy applies to University SPA, EPA and Non-Faculty employees who are credentialed by UNC Hospital.
- Annual Influenza Immunization
- All clinical medical faculty and staff employed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and credentialed by the UNC Health Care System to provide direct patient care shall be immunized against influenza each year. Influenza vaccine is available free of charge to all University employees. The vaccination program is coordinated through the University Employee Occupational Health Clinic (UEOHC) and UNC Health Care Occupational Health group beginning September 1st (pending availability of the vaccine). Immunizations must be completed by January 15 unless on leave (e.g., sick leave, pregnancy, Workers Compensation). If returning from leave that includes January 15, employees will have one month to become compliant.
- Employees who are vaccinated through services other than UNC Health Care Occupational Health (e.g. private physician office, public clinics) must provide proof of immunization to the UEOHC. Proof of immunization may include a physician’s or pharmacist’s note or a receipt.
- Exemption to immunization may be granted for medical contraindications or religious beliefs. Employees claiming religious exemption must submit a written statement that states “such immunizations are not consistent with their religious beliefs or tenets.”
- Employees requesting exemption due to medical contraindications must provide proof of medical contraindications such as a letter and medical records from their private physician. Exemptions for personal beliefs will not be accepted. Standard criteria for medical exemption will be established based upon recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
- Each request for exemption, regardless of the reason, will be evaluated individually by UEOHC.
- If exemption is granted, the employee will be notified in writing within fifteen (15) business days after presenting a request for exemption to UEOHC.
- If exemption is granted for a temporary condition, the employee must resubmit a request for exemption each year. If exemption is granted for a permanent condition (i.e. allergy to a vaccine component or history of Guillain-Barre after a previous influenza vaccine), the exemption does not need to be requested each year unless vaccine technology would change to eliminate issues regarding allergies.
Maintaining Immunization Records
The University Employee Occupational Health Clinic (UEOHC) will maintain a record of influenza immunization as well as employees with contra-indications or religious objection.
Dates of Immunization
Immunizations will begin September 1 (pending availability of the vaccine). “Designated” UNC employees must be vaccinated annually or granted an exemption prior to January 15.
Influenza Vaccine Shortage
In the event of an influenza vaccine shortage, the situation will be evaluated at the UNC Health Care level for the entire organization. Influenza vaccine will be offered to credentialed University employees based on job function and risk of exposure to influenza. Priority will be given to those who provide direct hands-on patient care with prolonged face-to-face contact with patients and/or have highest risk of exposure to patients with influenza and as recommended/required by CDC, FDA, ACIP, SHEA and the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
It is the responsibility of designated employees to comply (appropriate immunization or UEOHC approved medical exemption) with this policy. It is the responsibility of the Supervisor/Department Head/Division Director to ensure all employees in their area(s) of responsibility are aware of this policy. UEOHC will provide the Chief of Staff, UNC Health Care, a list of non-compliant personnel on January 15. Employees who are non-compliant as of January 15, 2013 may have their UNC Health Care privileges suspended until either they become compliant or until the end of the influenza season (usually around May 30). This will be at the decision of UNC Health Care administration. This deadline may be extended at the discretion of the Univeristy UEOHC Director and Director of EHS at the request of the UNC Health Care System Chief Operating Officer or his designee.