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Updated COVID-19 vaccine available for VUMC employees and patients

Sep. 19, 2023, 10:38 AM

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved an updated mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine provides better protection against current strains of COVID-19 that are circulating as we transition into the fall/winter virus season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone six (6) months and older who has not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past two months receive the updated vaccine.

“Vaccination continues to be the best protection against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19,” said Ana Nobis, MD, MPH, medical director, Occupational Health Clinic. “The updated vaccines are formulated to protect against the COVID-19 variants that are circulating at this time.”

Studies have also found that people who receive the COVID vaccine are less likely to develop long COVID and tend to have symptoms for fewer days if they do get a mild case of COVID.

Where can I get the updated COVID-19 vaccine?

The updated COVID-19 vaccine will be available to VUMC employees through the Occupational Health Clinic (OHC) starting sometime the week of Sept. 25. Employees can walk in to OHC, located on the 6th Floor of the Medical Arts Building, to receive a vaccine. Appointments are not required. The vaccine will be available at no cost to Vanderbilt Health employees if received through Occupational Health.

To receive a COVID vaccine at Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital, Vanderbilt Bedford Hospital, or Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital, contact the Occupational Health resource at that location.

Employees and patients may also receive the updated vaccine by scheduling with their Vanderbilt Health primary care physician through My Health at Vanderbilt, at Vanderbilt Health Walk-In Clinics, and via retail pharmacies across the region. A vaccine locator is available at Vaccines will be available in Vanderbilt Health locations beginning the week of Sept. 25.

For employees on the VUMC Aetna health plan who receive their updated COVID-19 vaccine at one of the Vanderbilt Health locations above (or through a retail pharmacy), it will still be available at no cost to them. Employees with other types of coverage should check with their health insurance plan for specifics on cost sharing.

The updated COVID-19 vaccine will not be available to inpatients during their hospitalization at a Vanderbilt Health facility but will be available after discharge in the locations noted above.

Only ages 12 and up can be vaccinated at Vanderbilt Health Walk-in Clinics.

COVID-19 Vaccine Compliance Information

VUMC is not currently requiring employees to receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine. However, employees are strongly encouraged to protect themselves and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by keeping up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccination.

Vanderbilt Health will not be returning to universal masking in our facilities at this time; however, infection prevention will continue to monitor rates of respiratory infections in the area and adjust masking recommendations, if needed, over the upcoming months.

Visiting a Vanderbilt Health Clinic after COVID-19

Patients who are showing signs of acute respiratory infections (fever, cough, runny nose, loss of smell/taste, etc.) or who test positive for COVID-19 will be asked by staff to either delay their appointment for five days (10 days for clinics with a high number of  immunocompromised patients), participate in a telehealth visit, or, if the visit cannot be delayed, wear a surgical mask during their visit.

Employees with symptoms of respiratory infections should follow existing guidelines for reporting to their supervisor and removing themselves from work. A surgical or procedural mask should be worn until the employee is no longer around patients or visitors.

Exposure, Infection and Return-to-Work Guidelines

Vanderbilt Health employees should continue to follow existing guidelines for responding to COVID-19 exposures and infections, including processes for returning to work.

For complete COVID-19 employee information, visit the Occupational Health Clinic COVID-19 website.

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