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Policy No. 1109
Effective Date: 10/13/21
Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
1.1 The purpose of this policy is to help ensure workplace health and safety and the well‐being of students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) campuses, as well as the health care facilities and communities in which UNMC students are educated, by reducing the potential or actual risks associated with exposure to COVID-19.
Scope of Policy
2.1 This policy is applicable to all UNMC employees. It also applies to all UNMC invited visitors on campus for seven (7) or greater days and includes participants of educational programs, volunteers, contractors and vendors.
Basis of the Policy
3.1 UNMC seeks to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection in patients, staff, students and visitors. Therefore, UNMC requires COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center will monitor guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), as well as state and local health officials, and may revise this COVID-19 policy as more information becomes available.
Authorities and Administration
4.1 The UNMC Associate Director of Human Resources–Benefits is responsible for the administration, implementation and maintenance of the policy in consultation with the Associate Vice Chancellor, Executive Director of Human Resources and the Executive Director of Health Security, Chancellor’s Office and the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
5.0 All UNMC employees, volunteers, contractors and vendors must report that they are vaccinated against COVID-19.
All employees must be fully vaccinated unless they have requested and been approved for an exemption based on a recognized medical reason, a sincerely held religious belief, or a pre-approved, 100% remote work agreement. Fully vaccinated means having received one dose of a single dose COVID-19 vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) or both doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccination series (Moderna and Pfizer).
Non-faculty new hires, rehires and transfers will have five (5) days from the date of hire to provide proof of partial or full vaccination or to request a medical or religious exemption. Non-faculty new hires, rehires and transfers with proof of partial vaccination may have up to thirty-five (35) days from the hire date to be in full compliance with this policy. Non-faculty new hires, rehires and transfers who receive a denial of a request for medical or religious exemption will be given five (5) business days from exemption denial notification date to provide proof of compliance with this policy. Non-faculty new hires, rehires and transfers with no approved exemption who fail to comply with this policy will be separated.
5.1 UNMC, in conjunction with Nebraska Medicine, has developed an online reporting system for employees to report their COVID-19 vaccination status. All employees must use the Health Tracking System to record COVID-19 vaccine status. Non-disclosure of vaccine status is not permissible.
5.2 Employees are required to comply with the vaccine mandate as outlined in this policy unless they have requested and been approved for an exemption based on i) medical contraindications, ii) sincerely held religious beliefs, or iii) a supervisor pre-approved telecommuting agreement to work 100% remotely.
All exemption approvals are temporary and may be subject to renewal after 1 year.
Employees who wish to request an exemption must do so by the established deadlines.
Types of Exemptions
1. Medical Contraindications
A medical exemption may be granted for recognized medical contraindications.
Guidance for medical contraindications for COVID-19 vaccination can be obtained from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
A medical exemption may be requested by completing and submitting a COVID-19 Medical Exemption Request Form.
If an exemption is granted based on a medical contraindication that is expected to be temporary, the individual will be required either to be vaccinated when the condition resolves or renew their request for an exemption. A request for medical exemption may not be granted if it is not reasonable or if it is determined that granting the exemption will present a direct safety threat to the employee or others that cannot be eliminated by other means.
2. Religious Beliefs
A religious exemption may be granted when an employee has a sincerely held religious belief, practice or observation which is contrary to the practice of immunization, and granting the exemption does not pose an undue hardship on UNMC. Personal preference, philosophical, political or sociological objections are not “religious beliefs” for which a religious exemption will be granted.
A religious exemption may be requested by completing and submitting a COVID-19 Religious Exemption Request Form.
3. 100% Remote – Pre-approved Telecommuting Agreement
An exemption may be granted when an employee has an existing telecommuting agreement that was preapproved by the supervisor to work no less than 100% remotely. Employees may contact Employee Relations to request an exemption form. Employees with 100% remote telecommuting agreements are not allowed on campus at any time. If the telecommuting agreement changes and the employee is required to be on campus, sufficient notice will be provided to allow for completion of the vaccination process.
A telecommuting agreement may not be granted as a means of obtaining an exemption.
Employees who submit a request for exemption will be notified by HR-Employee Relations whether the exemption has been approved, denied, or requires more information to be processed.
Employees who receive an exemption from COVID-19 vaccination must still comply with UNMC’s established safety protocols. Additional infection prevention and control measures may also be required including mandatory masking and regular COVID-19 testing.
Employment Actions for COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
5.3 UNMC employees are expected to meet performance standards and comply with UNMC policies and procedures. Any violation of the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy can result in disciplinary actions up to and including termination for cause.
Employees are subject to corrective and disciplinary action as outlined in UNMC Policy No. 1098, Corrective and Disciplinary Action
Notice of Non-Discrimination
6.1 Please see UNMC's Notice of Non-Discrimination regarding the University of Nebraska Medical Center's commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive working and learning environment free from discrimination and harassment.