Frequently Asked Questions About DUHS's Healthcare Worker Flu Vaccination Policy
Last revised 10/07/13
*Indicates a form available on the DUHS intranet (internal access only)
I was vaccinated at my primary care doctor's office. How do I get my policy compliance documented in the reporting system?
Thank you for getting vaccinated! There are several options for evidencing policy compliance when vaccinated outside of the Duke Employee Health (EOHW) structure. The key is having "official" documentation from the practice/organization that provided the vaccination. We can no longer accept a personal attestation of vaccination. But, we accept a wide range of "official" documentation from the practice/organization as long as it includes your name, the practice/organization's name and location, the medical provider who vaccinated you and his/her signature and date of administration. This could be on a prescription pad, official practice/pharmacy stationery, an after visit summary, or on Duke's Outside Vaccination reporting form available here*. Fax your documentation to EOHW at (919) 613-3518 (this is a fax-to-e-mail number) , e-mail to email@example.com or fax to general EOHW fax (919) 681-0555.
On my individual OESO online training page, under the section labeled "Influenza Policy Compliance," it says I'm "incomplete." How do I interpret that message?
There are two possible interpretations: One, if you are a Duke University Health System or PDC member/employee, you are required to be vaccinated against influenza or have an approved medical or religious exemption by December 6, 2013. Also, certain employees/faculty and all students in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing are required to be vaccinated. "Incomplete" means you have not yet achieved documented compliance through either vaccination or an approved exemption. Second, even if you not required to be vaccinated because you are not an employee of one of the aforementioned entities (or a member of one of the subgroup of employees/faculty that is required), and you have not achieved policy compliance for the required group, you will also be listed as "incomplete." The training system supporting the individual online training pages is unable to tailor the requirement at a more granular level. Please direct any questions you may have about your requirements related to the influenza vaccine to your manager/supervisor.
I work with an individual who is working under a contract with my entity. He/she is employed by an outside company. What is my responsibility as his/her Duke supervisor regarding his/her flu vaccination policy compliance?
If you are managing the contractual relationship with the company, you are responsible for validating that the contracted individual's employing company understands Duke's position on healthcare worker influenza vaccination and the compliance deadline each year. You are not responsible for verifying the individual's compliance with the policy. The employing company is responsible for doing that and for maintaining the necessary documentation to evidence such.
Can we provide the flu vaccine to visitors and patients' family members during the employee flu vaccination blitz?
We cannot vaccinate visitors and family members using the employee vaccine supply. However, we do want them to get vaccinated. Please refer them to their own Primary Care Providers and/or to local pharmacies such as Target and CVS. By returning to their own PCPs, documentation will be available in their own health records; if they go to a pharmacy, the licensing procedures are already in place to provide vaccination.
If we are providing peer-to-peer vaccination, do we have to wear gloves?
If you are administering an injection, wearing gloves is not a requirement unless you have an open area on your hands. However, you must wash your hands or use hospital-approved hand foam between each encounter.
What if I wait until December 6 to be vaccinated?
Employees who are vaccinated after Tuesday, December 3 will likely NOT appear on the OESO compliance reports as there is approximately a three-day data lag between the EOHW database and that of OESO. Therefore, evidence of vaccination in the form of a copy of the employee's consent form for the vaccine, if vaccinated by EOHW, or an official document from the vaccinating provider will need to be presented to the employee's manager in order to document compliance. The manager can then share the documentation with EOHW via fax at (919) 681-0555. The compliance report will then be updated within a few business days.
What if I do not work in a Duke University Health System healthcare facility?
Effective August 1, 2013, all healthcare workers who provide care, treatment or services in a DUHS facility or a community home-based setting are required to be vaccinated annually against influenza. This revision to the DUHS Healthcare Worker Flu Vaccination Policy and Procedure purposely extends the impact of our Flu Vaccination Policy beyond our employees who work in clinical environments to those who work in non-clinical environments such as off-campus offices. The policy change further protects our patients and team members and allows us to extend a broader safety net around our community. The flu can impact anyone regardless of their work location.
When will the policy be posted?
The policy is currently available online*. Requiring health care workers to receive a flu vaccination is in line with scientific, evidence-based recommendations and is supported by:
- The American Academy of Pediatrics
- The American College of Physicians
- The American Medical Directors Association
- The American Public Health Association
- The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
- The Infectious Diseases Society of America
- The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
- The National Patient Safety Foundation
How will employees be notified about the new policy?
All impacted employees should have received initial communications via e-mail in May/early June. If you are a manager of an area that does not have ready access to e-mail, please download the letter* to share with staff.
DUHS managers are also asked to have each team member sign a policy acknowledgement form during annual performance evaluations. The form is available here*.
Are contractors, vendors and volunteers included in the policy?
Yes, if they are working within one of Duke Medicine's clinical facilities.
Does this policy also apply to School of Medicine Employees?
The Duke SoM, through its employee flu vaccination program, requires all faculty and staff who have in-person interaction with patients or study subjects to be vaccinated annually against influenza because it believes vaccination is the best protection for our patients and study subjects against flu transmission during a research-related encounter.
View the School of Medicine's policy*.
View a list of FAQs* that apply to SoM employees.
I work for the Duke School of Nursing. When are exemption forms for DUSON faculty, staff and instructors due?
Applications for exemptions for DUSON faculty, staff and instructors only are due by October 1, 2013. Those requesting a medical exemption should submit their request to Duke Employee Occupational Health and Wellness (EOHW) per the instructions on the form.
Those who have a religious reason to request an exemption may do so by completing the religious exemption request form and submitting it to Staff and Labor Relations per the instructions on the form. All requests for exemptions will be reviewed, and all decisions will be communicated directly to the requestor.
Does this policy apply to guest speakers?
No, as they would not be considered healthcare workers.
When will the exemption/vaccination forms be available to download, and where will we be able to find the forms?
The forms are currently available online.
Can I self-declare a medical exemption to the influenza vaccine?
No, medical exemptions must be documented by your healthcare provider on the application form for a medical exemption. This is the same process that was used last year.
How will new hires apply for medical or religious exemptions?
The process for application for religious or medical exemption for new hires will start with the pre-hire health screening. Employee Health staff can help the employee find the answers to his or her questions. Keep in mind that hires between April and Aug 31 will be applying for exemptions for consideration during the fall vaccination campaign period.
Who should I contact if I have additional questions about the policy?
First, ask your manager. If you have additional questions, submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Universal Flu Vaccination Work Group will respond within 72 hours. Questions will be used to continue to build on the FAQs, as we intend for this to be a dynamic document.
*Indicates a form available on the DUHS intranet (internal access only)