UNMC vaccination deadline this Friday

October 21, 2021

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All UNMC faculty, staff and students are required to report that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have been granted a vaccination exemption by this Friday (Oct. 22).

Those who have not reported their vaccination status - or who have not been granted an exemption on the grounds of deeply held religious beliefs or medical circumstances - will receive a written notice by the end of next week. For those UNMC faculty, staff or students who are not in compliance with the policy, specific processes will ensue that may result in significant employment or student disciplinary action. Faculty, staff and students must show they are taking steps to comply with the policy.

"Our goal is to provide every opportunity for our faculty, staff and students to be in compliance with the policy, because being vaccinated is the most important action we can take to keep our ourselves, our campus and our communities healthy," Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, said. "We do not want to separate any employee from UNMC or prevent any student from continuing their academic journey.  We want them to be part of the safest, healthiest campus environment we can possibly have."

UNMC announced its vaccine requirement in mid-August. The policy’s purpose is to help ensure the workplace health and safety of the Med Center community.  UNMC’s clinical, education and research partners - including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Nebraska Medicine, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center and many others - all require COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees. Currently, this policy does not apply to any of the FDA approved "booster doses," however, they are recommended for those fully vaccinated consistent with the current FDA and CDC recommendations.

Faculty, staff and students who have received an email from UNMC Health Tracking regarding their vaccination status should respond by either updating their COVID-19 vaccination status into the medical center’s Health Tracking System or by replying with any questions, said Jane Meza, PhD, interim executive director for the Office of Health Security.

Employees or students having trouble entering information into the Health Tracking System should call the IT help desk, Dr. Meza said. And if they have any questions about COVID-19 vaccines, they can reach out to healthsecurity@unmc.edu, and a multidisciplinary team is standing by with the best and latest information.

Employees who historically have been working 100 percent remotely with pre-existing supervisory approval, both with no clinical responsibilities and no planned visits to campus, had the opportunity to apply for exemption from the vaccine requirement. Students who are fully online - and with no clinical responsibilities and no planned trips to campus -- were exempted from the requirement. Nevertheless, for their own safety and that of the community, these groups are strongly encouraged to undergo vaccination.

Individuals who were granted exemptions must undergo weekly COVID testing beginning the week of Oct. 25. More information has been or will be provided to individuals in this category, but failure to comply with testing requirements will prompt significant employment or student disciplinary action.  

Dr. Gold - as well as all of UNMC’s vice chancellors, deans and directors - have openly declared their successful vaccination status.

UNMC’s decision to require vaccination is consistent with the calls by hundreds of major health care organizations, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, American Academy of PAs, American Pharmacists Association, American Society of Health System Pharmacists, American Academy of Pediatrics and others recommending health care employers and member schools require vaccination against COVID-19. Others, including the American Dental Association, strongly encourage vaccination, and in June, reported that nearly 90 percent of dentists are fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

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