COVID-19: Vaccine Program | TestingVisitor Guidelines | Information for Employees

MONKEYPOX: UConn Health is NOT currently offering the monkeypox vaccine. Please visit the CT DPH website for more information or contact your health provider directly.

Mandatory Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions

General

What COVID-19 vaccinations are required to work at UConn Health?

All new and existing members of the UConn Health workforce are legally required to have received a primary series vaccination against COVID-19, or be approved for either a medical deferral or medical or religious exemption. A primary series includes two doses of an mRNA vaccine (either Pfizer and Moderna) or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Why is UConn Health mandating COVID-19 vaccinations?

UConn Health is committed to protecting our patients, staff, learners, and the community from COVID-19. In our continued effort to protect our UConn Health community, and in consideration of guidance released by the Connecticut Hospital Association, the state of Connecticut, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a variety of public health authorities and professional organizations, UConn Health is joining many other health systems in the country to mandate vaccination for its workforce.

Who is included in this mandatory vaccination policy?

The COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Policy applies to all UConn Health employees, volunteers, medical staff, and any contracted individual receiving a UConn Health-issued badge (referred to as Workforce Members throughout).

I work fully remote or in a non-clinical environment. Do I need to comply with this policy?

Yes. This policy applies to all of our workforce, regardless of whether they work on-site or remotely.

Are there any exemptions to this policy?

Yes. For more information on exemptions, please review our policy guidance and procedures or see the Exemptions FAQs section below.

Where can I schedule a COVID-19 vaccination?

Appointments can be scheduled in a variety of ways, including:

Will getting the vaccine cost me money?

No. There are no out-of-pocket expenses to individuals who receive their COVID-19 vaccine at UConn Health. Insurance will be billed for administration of the vaccine, but copays or additional expenses to the patient are never charged.

Do I have to receive my vaccination at UConn Health?

No. Workforce Members are not required to receive vaccination at UConn Health, but are encouraged to do so.

Which vaccines are being accepted through this policy?

Workforce Members will meet the COVID-19 vaccine requirement if they have been vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine that has either been authorized for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or been authorized for use outside of the United States by the World Health Organization (WHO). Workforce Members who have received a COVID-19 vaccine that does not meet the above criteria will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

If I feel sick after my vaccination, will UConn Health provide me with paid leave?

Workforce members feeling sick after the vaccination should request sick time off in accordance with their regular call-out procedures.

What if I, as a result of this mandate, have a more serious adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine?

Serious adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are rare. As stated above, you should handle any illness that causes you to miss work in accordance with standard sick time and call-out procedures, regardless of the cause of the illness.

I recently received and accepted an offer of employment at UConn Health. Does this policy apply to me?

Yes. UConn Health will require all new hires and appointments to comply with the vaccination requirements outlined in our policy as a condition of employment/appointment. Potential candidates for employment/appointment will be notified of the requirements of this policy prior to the start of employment.

Where can I get more information on the COVID-19 vaccines?

UConn Health has a separate FAQ for general vaccine-related questions. We continue to update our FAQs in accordance with changing guidance.

Will UConn Health require COVID-19 vaccine booster shots?

UConn Health had been legally required to mandate boosters under state law, but that law expired in April 2022 and has not been renewed. Therefore, at this time, UConn Health’s policy no longer includes the mandatory requirement that all workforce members receive a booster. However, COVID-19 booster shots remain strongly recommended for those who are eligible to receive them, employees and other members of the UConn Health workforce will no longer be required to receive boosters at this time. The CDC and our Department of Public Health continue to strongly encourage COVID-19 vaccine boosters.

I got my vaccine at UConn Health. Do I still need to provide proof of vaccination?

Yes. Regardless of where you received your vaccination, we require that you upload proof of vaccination in accordance with our policy.

What types of proof of vaccination is UConn Health accepting?

All Workforce Members will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Acceptable forms of proof include:

  1. A valid CDC Vaccination Card. The CDC Vaccination Card must contain the name and date of birth of the individual, the manufacturer of the COVID-19 vaccine that was administered, and the date(s) on which the vaccine was administered; or
  2. A record from the individual’s vaccine provider indicating the name and date of birth of the individual, the manufacturer of the COVID-19 vaccine that was administered, and the date(s) on which the vaccine was administered (“Provider Vaccination Record”). Individuals may contact their vaccination provider to request a copy or log into the patient portal for that provider; or
  3. A certificate from the Vaccine Administration Management System (“VAMS”), if the individual received vaccination through the VAMS system (“VAMS Certificate”). The VAMS Certificate must contain the name and date of birth of the individual, the manufacturer of the COVID-19 vaccine that was administered, and the date(s) on which the vaccine was administered; or
  4. A copy of the individual’s official immunization record from the Connecticut Immunization Information System, CT WiZ. Valid CT WiZ immunization records contain the name and date of birth of the individual, the manufacturer of the COVID-19 vaccine that was administered, and the date(s) on which the vaccine was administered. Individuals may download a copy of their record by visiting CT WiZ.

I work at UConn Health, but I am a contractor. How do I provide proof of vaccination or request an exemption?

Members of our workforce who are not directly employed by UConn Health, including contractors, will not follow the same process to demonstrate their vaccination status. These individuals must provide proof of compliance with UConn Health’s policy to their employers, and their employers must keep that proof on file for audit purposes. Additionally, badged members of our workforce who are not directly employed by UConn Health will be asked to attest to their vaccination status upon badging in to UConn Health facilities.

Will UConn Health accept proof of vaccination obtained in another country?

Yes. Though UConn Health encourages its workforce to receive FDA-approved vaccinations, we will accept proof of vaccinations that have been authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO). International Workforce Members must present proof of vaccination in the form of a copy of the WHO Certificate of Vaccination (WHO Vaccine Booklet) or documentation to include a statement signed by a health care provider/organization authorized to administer the vaccination attesting to the dates and name of COVID-19 vaccination given. All documentation must be submitted in English or accompanied by a certified translation at the Workforce Member’s expense. Please contact Human Resources at VAXQuestion@uchc.edu for further information on submitting and uploading your proof of vaccination.

Exemptions

What if my exemption or deferral request is denied?

If your exemption or deferral request is denied, you will have ten (10) calendar days to receive your COVID-19 vaccination (or the first dose of a two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series). If you do not receive your vaccination within 10 calendar days after your exemption or deferral request is denied, Human Resources/Labor Relations will contact you and will begin the progressive discipline process.

What types of exemptions or deferrals are being considered?

We are allowing exemptions based on medical or religious reasons. Detailed information on the exemption processes are contained in our policy guidance and procedures.

What if I have a medical condition that prevents me from getting vaccinated?

Workforce Members who believe that they have a medical condition that prevents them from receiving or necessitates a delay in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine may request a medical exemption or deferral. Workforce Members requesting a medical exemption or a medical deferral must complete and submit Section I of the Medical Exemption, Medical Deferral, or Personal Deferral Request Form. If a Workforce member is unable to obtain documents to support their exemption request by the deadline the employee will be granted up to thirty (30) days to submit information from their health care provide to support their request for an exemption. Detailed instructions on this requirement are located directly on the Medical Exemption, Medical Deferral, or Personal Deferral Request Form.

What medical conditions will be considered for exemption?

Examples of medical conditions that will be considered for exemption include:

  • A documented history of severe or immediate-type allergic reaction to any ingredient of all currently available COVID-19 vaccine brands. (Vaccine ingredients for each of the vaccine brands is available on the CDC website.) There must be a documented severe or immediate-type allergic reaction to an ingredient in all currently available vaccines, medical contraindications to all currently available vaccines, or a combination that would not allow an individual to receive any of the currently available vaccines.
  • A documented history of severe allergy or immediate-type hypersensitivity reaction to a previous COVID-19 vaccination, and also a separate contraindication to all currently available COVID-19 vaccine brands.

What medical conditions are being considered for a postponement or deferral of COVID-19 vaccination?

Examples of medical conditions that may qualify for deferral include:

  • Active treatment for a medical condition that is contraindicated with the vaccine
  • Prior positive COVID-19 test within specified timeframes
  • Upcoming scheduled surgery

Additional details and timing allowances for these conditions are outlined in the COVID-19 Vaccination Medical Exemption/Deferral Request Form.

I had COVID-19 infection earlier this year and tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. I am otherwise healthy and not taking any medications. Why am I required to get a vaccine?

At this time, we do not know how long someone who had COVID-19 is protected from a repeat infection, whether the person tested positive for the COVID-19 antibody or not. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection is possible, CDC recommends that individuals who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 still get the vaccine, regardless of whether their infection caused them to be symptomatic or asymptomatic.

What if I have a sincerely held religious or spiritual belief that prevents me from getting vaccinated?

Workforce Members may request an exemption on the basis of a sincerely held religious belief or practice that prohibits them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccination by completing the Religious Exemption Request Form. More information on the religious exemption process are contained in our policy guidance and procedures.

Are there any additional circumstances in which I may qualify for a personal deferral?

Workforce Members under very limited circumstances may qualify for a personal deferral.

Only the following circumstances will be considered for a personal deferral:

  • Pregnancy (proof of pregnancy required).
  • Breastfeeding for a period of twelve (12) months from the birth of the child or 24 months upon request.
  • Currently on block leave and will not return to work until after eligibility deadline.

I understand that I can request a deferral from the COVID vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding. Does UConn Health recommend that I seek a deferral if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

No, UConn Health does not recommend that individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding seek a deferral from vaccination, though this is a personal decision that you should make in consultation with your physician. Growing evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy demonstrates that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh potential risks at this time. The CDC, as well as the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, all recommend that pregnant and lactating individuals should be vaccinated against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 5 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. The CDC has warned that the increased circulation of the highly contagious Delta variant, the low vaccine uptake among pregnant people, and the increased risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications related to COVID-19 infection among pregnant people make vaccination for this population more urgent than ever. Here is more information from the CDC about COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding.

What if I believe that I qualify for multiple types of exemptions? May I submit multiple exemption requests?

If you believe that you qualify for more than one type of exemption, please select and upload your primary exemption request and email VAXquestion@uchc.edu for further instruction on how to submit and upload any additional subsequent exemption requests.

If I am approved for an exemption or deferral (as listed above), what additional requirements must I comply with?

If an unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Workforce Member is approved for an exemption or deferral, the Workforce Member may be required to comply with the following protective measures:

  • Receive a weekly COVID-19 NAAT or PCR testing.
  • Must follow the present travel guidelines for out-of-state travel with HR documentation and obtain a COVID-19 NAAT or PCR (not rapid antigen) test before returning to work following any out-of-state travel that lasts 24 hours or more. Additional testing following travel may be required under the instruction of the COVID-19 Call Center clinicians.
  • Be required to 1) wear a mask at ALL times while present at work; 2) wear protective eyewear when providing clinical care on any patient; and 3) wear an N95 or equivalent respirator when performing any aerosol-generating procedure on any patient.

Updates to these requirements may be made based on evolving state and federal public health guidance.

Non-UConn Health Employees

I work at UConn Health (and have a UConn Health badge), but I am not technically a UConn Health employee (e.g., I am a UConn Storrs employee, a contractor, etc.). Am I subject to the mandatory vaccine requirement? If yes, can I use the UConn Health Employee Vaccine Registry to provide proof that I received my vaccine and if I can’t use the Registry, how do I provide proof?

Yes, if you have a UConn Health badge because you regularly work or train in UConn Health facilities, you are subject to the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Policy.

The COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Policy requires that all UConn Health workforce members receive primary series COVID-19 vaccinations, and this applies to all UConn Health employees, volunteers, medical staff, and any other individual receiving a UConn Health-issued badge (referred to as “Workforce Members”). Therefore, if you are a UConn (Storrs) employee, a contractor, or other person who has a UConn Health badge to work or train at UConn Health, you are part of the workforce and must follow this policy.

With regard to providing proof of your COVID-19 vaccinations, individuals who are not UConn Health employees cannot use the Employee Vaccine Registry. Instead, you must provide proof of compliance with UConn Health’s policy to your employer, and your employer must keep that proof on file for audit purposes. Additionally, badged members of our workforce who are not directly employed by UConn Health will be asked to attest to their vaccination status upon badging in to UConn Health facilities.

Are graduate students (including Graduate Assistants) subject to the mandatory vaccination policy, and if yes, how do they report their status or submit requests for exemptions/deferrals?

All UConn Health graduate students (including Graduate Assistants) are subject to the mandatory vaccination policy for students because they are enrolled as graduate students at the university. Requests to apply for medical or religious exemption should be submitted to Human Resources’ Kristin Donofrio at donofrio@uchc.edu.

Are Medical and Dental Residents subject to the mandatory vaccination policy, and if yes, how do they report their status or submit requests for exemptions/deferrals?

UConn School of Medicine

All UConn School of Medicine sponsored medical students, residents, and fellows are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine series. They may apply for a medical or religious exemption by submitting a request to the School of Medicine Office of Student Affairs. Residents are required to send proof of vaccination status to the GME office. The GME office then informs all affiliated sites where residents rotate whether or not residents are meeting the requirements for vaccination.

Residents are required to send proof of vaccination status to the GME office. The GME office then informs all affiliated sites where residents rotate whether or not residents are meeting the requirements for vaccination.

Medical students should upload their vaccine cards or proof of vaccine to OASIS or according to instructions sent by the School of Medicine.

UConn School of Dental Medicine

All UConn School of Dental Medicine sponsored residents and fellows are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine series. They may apply for a medical or religious exemption by submitting a request to a designated review committee through the School of Dental Medicine Office of Student Affairs.

Residents and fellows are required to send proof of vaccination status to their program directors and to the School of Dental Medicine Office of Academic Affairs. Residency program directors would notify all sites where residents rotate whether or not residents are meeting the requirements for vaccination. In addition, dental residents and fellows who are employed directly by UConn Health are also required to submit vaccination documentation through the UConn Health Employee Vaccine Registry.

Exemption/Deferral Requests

If I didn’t get the initial COVID vaccine primary series and have a deferral or medical exemption, will I need to be tested weekly?

No, weekly testing is not required at this time.

What if I am a new employee who still needs to be vaccinated, but I recently tested positive for COVID-19?

People with a previous COVID-19 infection may request a deferral from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals should upload the Medical Exemption, Medical Deferral, or Personal Deferral Request Form to the UConn Health COVID Vaccine Registry. Individuals with a prior positive COVID-19 test are not required to complete Section II of the Medical Exemption, Medical Deferral, or Personal Deferral Request Form under this section, but must provide proof of positive test in order for a deferral to be granted.

An unvaccinated Workforce Member will be granted a 30-day deferral of vaccination if they have had a COVID-19 positive test or a 90-day deferral if they were treated with monoclonal antibody infusion.

Deferral dates are subject to change based upon recommendations by the Medical Exemption Review Committee in consultation with evolving federal and public health guidance.

What if I was previously granted an exemption from vaccination, but now I would like to get vaccinated?

If you were granted an exemption from vaccination but would now like to get vaccinated, please notify VAXQuestion@uchc.edu in order for your record to be updated in the registry and for instructions on when to upload your proof of vaccination.

Human Resources/Time Off

If I feel sick after my vaccination, will UConn Health provide me with paid leave?

Workforce members feeling sick after the vaccination should request sick time off in accordance with their regular call-out procedures. For example, work time lost due to any side effects from the vaccine may be charged against an employee’s sick time or other accruals if the employee is unable to work. Note, however these sick time absences shall not count as an “occurrence” pursuant to our sick leave policy.

Employee COVID-19 Vaccine Registry

Can I just email VAXQuestion@uchc.edu a copy of my vaccine card instead of uploading it into the Registry?

No. Please do not send a copy of your vaccine card to VAXQuestion@uchc.edu. All employees must log in to the Employee Vaccine Registry and upload their information in order to meet this requirement. Please call the IT service desk at 860-679-4400 if you are having trouble uploading.

My primary vaccination series information appears to be locked in the Registry. What is the best way to delete or update my information in the Registry?

All approved primary vaccination records in the Employee Vaccine Registry are locked and cannot be edited without administrator approval. Please submit an email to VAXQuestion@uchc.edu with your request if there is an error with the information in the Registry regarding your initial series. The administrators of the Employee Vaccine Registry will be able to update or delete the information for you.

Can I attach the Outlook email where I sent the copy of my vaccination card?

No. Please do not upload an email file (such as EML or MSG) containing the vaccination card image into the COVID Vax Registry website. We will not be able to open the file to confirm your details. Acceptable file types include PNG, JPEG, GIF, DOC, DOCX, and PDF.