The 2020-2021 influenza season will coincide with the COVID-19 pandemic. This inevitable combination will present unique challenges affecting MedStar Health associates and physicians, as well as the communities we serve. This year, more than ever, compliance with our mandatory influenza (flu) vaccination program is essential to achieving our patient and associate safety priorities.
As a reminder, all MedStar Health associates, physicians, residents, students, volunteers, contracted staff, and vendors are required to receive the influenza (flu) vaccination. The vaccination period is Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020 through Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. While flu vaccine clinics will be scheduled at a variety of locations across the system, eligible associates and physicians may also receive their vaccination at Occupational Health offices, unit rounds in high-volume patient care areas, and from peer immunizers. New infection prevention protocols, including appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), frequent disinfection of clipboards, pens and other tools, and physical distancing, will be in place in all flu vaccine clinic locations.
We will continue to provide the vaccine at MedStar Health entities free of cost for associates, physicians, residents, and volunteers. Locations, dates and times for entity clinics will be posted on StarPort (starport.medstar.net/go/EveryoneCounts) by Sept. 14, 2020. If individuals choose to be vaccinated at non-MedStar facilities or a MedStar Health Urgent Care location, they must complete and submit official documentation to Occupational Health (letterhead, prescription form, printed receipt, etc.) from the provider administering the vaccine. Documentation must include:
- Associate's name
- Date of vaccination
- Name, dose and lot number of vaccine
- Name, address and phone number of provider
We recognize that a small percentage of individuals may not be able to receive the flu vaccination due to medical contra-indications and/or religious exemptions. The Influenza Vaccine Exemption Form will need to be obtained from, completed and returned to Occupational Health by Oct. 31, 2020.
While the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will not require the typical vaccine compliance data reporting this year, MedStar Health will continue to require all associates, physicians, residents/fellows, volunteers, students, contracted staff, and vendors to receive a flu vaccine before the end of the vaccination period or document exemption by the deadline.
Please share this information with your appropriate stakeholders as a priority topic at town hall meetings, staff meetings, rounds, and other communication touch points.
By collectively vaccinating ourselves against influenza, we enhance patient and associate safety across our organization and communities. Remember, an individual with no flu symptoms may still be a carrier and unknowingly spread it to patients, coworkers, visitors, and family members.
Thank you for your commitment to patient and associate safety through flu vaccination.