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Frequently Asked Questions

Influenza Vaccination Program — For Managers

Why do my employees need to have their ID badge for the vaccination?

All employees are responsible for wearing ID badges and it must be verified that the person getting the vaccine is eligible as a Jefferson employee, student or volunteer. In addition, UHS will be using a hand held computer to scan the barcode on the ID badge. This device assists us with tracking and was very helpful in the success of last year’s flu tracking and compliance.

I am a JUP manager. Do all of my employees have to comply?

All employees are strongly encouraged to have the vaccination even if they do not work directly with patients. Employees who are direct care providers must comply. The definition of a direct care provider is broad and it is written above and in the Influenza Vaccination Policy #200.82. For the employees who are not required to receive the vaccine based on the definition outlined in the policy, you will have to submit a departmental list of employees not required to receive the flu vaccine to UHS at jeffuhs@jefferson.edu.

What will happen if my employee refuses to comply?

Non-compliant employees will be placed on unpaid leave as of December 1st. Non-compliance after 2 weeks will result in termination in accordance with the Influenza Vaccination Policy #200.82.

What should I do if my employee has fears about the vaccine?

Encourage your employees to visit reliable websites, i.e., www.cdc.gov or www.flu.gov to learn more. The UHS/HM providers are happy to discuss an individual’s fears and answer questions.

What should my employee do if he has been vaccinated at his doctor's office?

Those vaccinated outside of UHS/Healthmark must provide adequate proof of vaccination from their provider. This will include the original paperwork with documentation of the date of administration, manufacturer, lot number and expiration date. UHS/HealthMark will review the provided information to determine if it is acceptable.

What is the best method for my employees to get their information to UHS/Healthmark?

Please instruct your employee forward the original information to UHS/Healthmark via interoffice mail (833 Chestnut Street, Suite 205). We will also accept a scanned copy sent via email to jeffuhs@jefferson.edu. We suggest employees keep a copy of the form. It is the individual’s responsibility to provide documentation and managers should not collect and submit documentation an employee’s behalf.

How will I know if my employees have been vaccinated?

In early November, compliance reports will be distributed. Reports prior to November 1st may be requested by contacting Allicia Screven, Administrative Coordinator.

Should I wait for the December 1st deadline?

We strongly encourage departments to set an earlier departmental deadline to assist with planning and to ensure timely compliance. A recommended target date for 100% compliance is November 15th.

Influenza Vaccination Program — Policy

When was the policy changed to require the flu vaccine?

TJUH updated the Influenza Vaccination Policy #200.82 in 2010 and announced in September 2010 to all employees that the policy would mandate vaccination beginning with the 2011-2012 season. This is the 4th year of mandatory vaccination.

Which employees have to comply with the policy?

  • All TJUH/MHD employees regardless of job category
  • All TJU/JUP employees who provide direct patient care
  • All active members of the TJUH medical and professional staff
  • All Jefferson students working in areas providing direct patient care
  • All TJUH volunteers
  • All TJU/JUP volunteers working in areas providing direct patient care
  • All contract employees working in TJUH departments or providing direct patient care in TJU/JUP departments
  • All healthcare industry representatives
  • All visiting non-Jefferson students working in areas providing direct patient care

What is the definition of direct care provider?

According to the CDC, the definition is as follows:
"Direct care provider – all healthcare personnel including all paid and unpaid persons working in healthcare settings who have the potential for exposure to patients with influenza, infectious materials, including body substances, contaminated medical supplies and equipment, or contaminated environmental surfaces. This category includes, but is not limited to physicians, nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, technicians, emergency medical service personnel, dental personnel, pharmacists, laboratory personnel, autopsy personnel, students, contractual staff not employed by Jefferson and persons, i.e. clerical, dietary, housekeeping, maintenance, not directly involved in patient care, but potentially exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted to and from healthcare personnel."

Will UHS vaccinate contract staff or healthcare industry representatives (HCIRs)?

No. Contract employees are expected to provide documentation of an annual influenza vaccination to their host department. Vaccination is not provided by UHS. HCIR’s are expected to provide documentation of their vaccination to RepTrax or they will risk restriction from the clinical areas. The original paperwork from the physician’s office or the pharmacy must be submitted. The documentation must include the manufacturer, lot number, expiration date and a signature of the vaccinator in order to be accepted.

What is the deadline for compliance?

All employees must be vaccinated through UHS/Healthmark or provide adequate documentation (which requires the manufacturer, lot#, and expiration date with a provider signature) of vaccination elsewhere, or have a Jefferson approved exemption by December 1st. Requests for exemption forms must be submitted by October 31st.

What happens if I don't comply?

Non-compliant employees will be placed on an unpaid suspension as of December 1st and face termination in two weeks if still non-compliant.

Where can I read the policy?

The Influenza Vaccination Policy #200.82 is available on the TJUH Intranet under Policies and Procedures.

Where are the forms to complete if I want to request a medical or religious objection?

The forms may be found as attachments to the policy on the Intranet or may be obtained through the UHS website.

What if I do not have one of the listed medical contraindications?

Each request for a medical exemption will be evaluated on a case by case basis by the employee health office. Additional questions may be directed to your physician and additional documentation may be requested. A release of information may be signed to assist with the evaluation. UHS/Healthmark will use the established guidelines for accepted medical contraindications.

What if I am on a leave of absence during the fall?

You may choose to be vaccinated while on leave and forward adequate documentation (which requires the manufacturer, lot#, and expiration date with a provider signature) of vaccination to UHS/Healthmark. If you choose to do this, we ask that you clearly write your name and your role at Jefferson, i.e. employee, on the form. You will not be suspended while on a medical leave of absence. Before your clearance to return to work, you must either undergo vaccination in UHS/Healthmark or provide adequate documentation of your vaccination received elsewhere.

I am a physician; can I sign my own exemption form?

No. Physicians may not sign their own medical exemptions forms. The original form signed by the treating physician must be submitted for evaluation. You will be notified as to whether your form has been approved or denied. If you have a religious objection, the form must be sent to the VP of Human Resources for evaluation. UHS will be notified for tracking purposes if the exemption has been approved.

Influenza Vaccination Program — Procedures

What do I need to bring with me when I choose to be vaccinated?

It is required that everyone presents a valid Jefferson ID badge. UHS will use a new device to scan the barcode of valid Jefferson ID badges. Also, please wear clothing that will allow vaccination in your upper arm, i.e., loose sleeves or short sleeves.

What if I get the vaccine at my doctor’s office or a retail pharmacy?

If you opt to receive your vaccine outside of UHS or Healthmark, you must provide adequate proof of vaccination to UHS or Healthmark. The original paperwork from the physician’s office or the pharmacy must be submitted and the documentation must include the date of administration, manufacturer, lot number, expiration date and a signature of the vaccinator in order to be accepted.

What will happen if I have lost the documentation of my vaccination done elsewhere and I am unable to get the proof of vaccination?

You will have to undergo another vaccination.

Can I fax in my exemption request form?

No. The original, signed form must be delivered to the office designated at the top of the form by the Wednesday, October 31st deadline.

Am I compliant once I submit my request for exemption?

No. Do not assume that each request submitted will be accepted and approved. Each request will be reviewed on a case by case basis. In many cases there is a request for additional information. When a request has been approved or denied, the employee health office will notify individuals for medical requests and HR will notify individuals for religious requests. HR will notify the employee health office of religious exemption approvals/denials in order to track compliance.

Influenza Vaccination Program — Vaccine Information

Can I get the vaccine if I am pregnant?

Yes, absolutely. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that all individuals over 6 months of age receive the flu vaccine. Women who are pregnant or are going to be pregnant during the flu season should receive the flu vaccine to protect their own health and the health of their babies.

What if I am breast feeding my baby?

The recommendations remain the same. Breast feeding is not a contraindication for vaccination. Adults in close contact with babies less than 6 months of age are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine to protect the babies.

Is the vaccine 100 percent effective?

The flu vaccine is not 100% effective. Some years the match to the circulating virus is better than others. Washing hands, wearing masks when near coughing patients and asking patients to don a mask if coughing are all important measures to prevent influenza.

How long does the vaccine take to work?

Generally, the vaccine provides protection within two weeks of administration.

Is the influenza vaccine safe?

Each year the safety profile of the influenza vaccine has been tracked and reported through the CDC. It is a safe vaccine.

Where can I get the vaccine?

UHS and Healthmark will vaccinate employees, students and volunteers free of charge or you may get the vaccine from your physician or pharmacy. Documentation of vaccination received through another office (even if it is a Jefferson office) must be submitted to UHS in order to be in compliance. The original paperwork from the physician’s office or the pharmacy must be submitted and the documentation must include the date of administration, manufacturer, lot number, expiration date and a signature of the vaccinator in order to be accepted.

When will the vaccine be available?

Vaccination begins as soon as supplies have been received. A schedule of times and dates when UHS will sponsor vaccination events in Gibbon and JHN will be available on the UHS website soon. A Flu Announcement will also be posted on the website and will outline when Healthmark will vaccinate on the Methodist Hospital campus.

Who will administer the vaccine?

UHS/Healthmark staff will vaccinate with the help of additional staff. The vaccine will be administered in UHS and, at specific times, in the 10th Street side of the Atrium and at JHN (Please see the website for specific times). UHS/HM will also be vaccinating at the Benefits Fair in Center City and at MHD. Healthmark providers will vaccinate on the Methodist Hospital campus.

What should I do if I have side effects from the vaccine?

If you experience symptoms related to the administration of the influenza vaccination, please report to UHS or to the physician who administered the vaccination. UHS will evaluate the symptoms and will report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) if the symptoms are felt to be related.

Where can I get reliable information about the flu vaccine?

I don't think I should get the vaccine since I have medical problems. What should I do?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends universal vaccination for all individuals over 6 months of age. Certain common medical problems place an individual at increased risk of complications from influenza and the vaccination is even more strongly recommended.