2018 - 2019 Employee Flu Vaccine Resources

Please review the information and links below for complete information regarding the 2018 - 2019 employee flu vaccine program at UNC Hospitals and our off-campus locations.

*Quick Link – Documentation for Immunization
*Quick Link -- OHS Flu Website

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. The flu is associated with 114,000 hospitalizations and 25,000 deaths annually in the United States.

At UNC Health Care, our patients are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of the flu because their immune systems are often compromised by the illness that caused their hospital admission or clinic visit. Together we have made great strides in increasing patient safety across UNC Medical Center and all of our off-campus locations. We believe that receiving a flu vaccine is a simple way to help keep our patients – and each other – safe.

In order to ensure the health of our patients, colleagues and families and in accordance with UNC Medical Center policy, all UNC Medical Center employees, medical staff, students, and volunteers must be vaccinated against influenza each year unless an exemption has been granted pursuant to this policy. 

When can I obtain my flu vaccine?

Influenza vaccine is available free of charge to all UNC Health Care employees and volunteers.  The vaccination program is coordinated through several UNC Medical Center Occupational Health Service (OHS) programs beginning on September 10th.

By November 12 at 8 a.m., all UNC Medical Center employees must have either received a vaccination by UNC’s OHS clinic, completed documentation for vaccination provided outside of UNC’s Occupational Health Services clinics or completed documentation for an appropriate exemption in accordance with the policy.  Please note that the window to become flu vaccine compliant is shorter this year than it has been in previous years in order to ensure staff are adequately vaccinated prior to the start of flu season.

What types of flu vaccine are available at UNC’s Occupational Health Services Clinic?

Inactivated flu injectable vaccine (shots) are available in UNC’s Occupational Health Services Clinic beginning 7:30am on Sept. 10, 2018.  These are all quadrivalent vaccines meaning they cover four different strains of influenza virus (2 A strains [H1N1/H3N2] and 2 B strains). All influenza vaccine purchased by UNC Medical Center this year is both latex-free and thimerosal-free.

Egg-free flu vaccine will the first week of October. Call OHS to ensure availability of this egg-free flu vaccine before making an appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m or walking in for your egg-free flu shot on Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

The intradermal flu vaccine will not be available as a flu vaccine option through Occupation Health Services this year.

There will be no live-attenuated (nasal spray) vaccine this year.

Please read the Vaccination Information Statement for more information about the flu vaccine.

How can I obtain my flu vaccine?

The easiest place to receive a flu vaccine for many employees will be in OHS on the first floor, West Wing at UNC Medical Center. OHS will offer free flu vaccines to UNC Medical Center employees and volunteers during walk-in clinics each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m beginning Monday, Sept. 10. 

To receive your free flu vaccine, you will need to provide your ID badge and employee ID number (EID). Volunteers must bring their hospital issued ID in order to receive their flu vaccine.  After receiving your flu vaccine, OHS will provide you with a flu documentation card. Save this card in case you need to show proof of documentation for any other purposes. You may wish to make a copy of your card in case you lose the original; you can even take a photo of your flu vaccine documentation with your phone.

What if…

I prefer to obtain the flu vaccine from my own provider or a clinic in my community?

If you have received your flu vaccine by a third party (e.g., CVS, Walmart, your provider, non-OHS provider at off-campus location, complete this attestation form by selecting “Documentation of Influenza Vaccination” and filling out all necessary information.  Please note that if you are on the State Health Plan, Blue Cross-Blue Shield is committed to providing free flu vaccine.

I have a medical contraindication to receiving flu vaccine?

If you have an approved medical contraindication (e.g., a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, severe allergic reaction to vaccine component, etc.) that prevents you from receiving the vaccine, complete this attestation form by selecting “Medical Contraindication” and filling out all necessary information.  If you have questions about a medical contraindication, please call OHS at 984-974-4480 to discuss.

If you completed a medical contraindication in a previous year, you do not need to complete another form -- the form will be loaded into the flu vaccine compliance database by OHS.

Please note that egg allergy is no longer a medical contraindication. You do not need to complete this form. Instead, you must contact OHS to have your name added to the list of employees who require egg-free vaccine. When egg-free vaccine becomes available this fall, OHS will contact employees who require it.

I have a religious objection to receiving the flu vaccine?

Complete this attestation form by selecting “Religious Exemption” and filling out all necessary information. This information must be submitted each year.

I work at Hillsborough Hospital?

Hillsborough Hospital OHS clinic will have walk in hours each Wednesday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. – noon.  Additional clinics and mobile offerings will be available on the following dates/times.

  • TBD

I work in a busy clinical location and find it difficult to stop by the OHS clinic?

Nurse managers may also request supplies to provide flu vaccine to staff who work in their location.  For nurse managers who would like to offer on-site flu vaccine for staff in their areas, please see these instructions and view the 2018-19 supply list.

I work at an off-campus location?

Personnel at off-campus locations (e.g., Hedrick Building, Eastowne, UNC Wellness Center at Meadowmont, Lenovo, etc.) may receive flu shots at their buildings or nearby buildings in their community on/at the following dates/times (additional sites will continue to be added):

Hedrick BuildingOct. 171:30 - 3:30 p.m.Classrooms
Kittner Eye Center Oct. 3 8:30 - 11:30 p.m. 1st Floor Conf. Room - Spine Center
Eastowne Oct. 29 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Bldg. 700

Shared Services Oct. 12 9 - 3 p.m.

Conference Room 1130

Lenovo - Morrisville Oct. 22 1 - 4 p.m. Bldg. 3 - Old Well

All off-site locations listed above have free parking available nearby for those attending a flu clinic. 

  • Off-campus nurse managers may also request supplies to provide flu vaccine to staff who work in their location.  For nurse managers who would like to offer on-site flu vaccine for staff in their areas, please see these instructions and view the 2018-19 supply list.

I work the 2nd or 3rd shift at the hospital?

Occupational Health is working to schedule additional clinics to accommodate those that work 2nd and 3rd shifts.  If you have questions about additional flu clinics, please have your manager contact OHS to discuss additional opportunities.

  • OHS Clinic will stay open late to provide evening flu clinics on Wednesday, Oct. 24 and Wednesday, Nov. 7 from 4 to 8 p.m. 
  • OHS Clinic will open early at 6 A.M. for flu vaccination on Monday, Oct. 1; Monday, Oct. 15 and Monday, Nov. 12

I work weekends?

OHS staff will also hold several clinics for weekend staff, all of which will be held in the Children's Hospital lobby on the following dates/times. If you have questions about additional flu clinics, please have your manager contact OHS to discuss additional opportunities.

  • Saturday, Oct. 6 from 6  – 9 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 7 from 6 – 9 a.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 3 from 6 – 9 a.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 4 from 6 – 9 p.m.

I work for the School of Medicine/ I am University-credentialed staff?

Flu vaccine for University faculty members is available through UNC's Department of Environment, Health and Safety. University employees can find details about clinics and documentation forms on the University’s Environment, Health and Safety website. If you are a School of Medicine employee who is not credentialed, you may ask your supervisor or contact Harvey Lineberry (harvey_lineberry@med.unc.edu) to find out if you are covered.  UNC School of Medicine credentialed staff may also receive a flu vaccine at OHS if unable to attend any of the University's flu clinics.

I don’t work in a patient care area? Am I still required to receive a flu vaccine?
All UNC Medical Center employees, whether clinical or non-clinical, are required to be vaccinated by Nov. 12, 2018 at 8 a.m. unless you have a documented exemption.

I am a hospital volunteer?

Volunteers can receive free influenza vaccine from OHS.  For documentation of vaccination, volunteers should complete the form by selecting “Documentation of Influenza Vaccination” and filling out all necessary information.

I am a contract worker?

Contract workers who see OHS as part of their onboarding, will be offered a free vaccine. If their employer does not contract with UNC OHS for services, then they must follow their employer’s guidelines for vaccination.

I am on leave (i.e. FMLA, Worker’s Comp, or disability) during the time period of flu vaccination?

Health Care personnel who return from leave after Nov. 12 must be vaccinated within one calendar month after return to work if within the influenza virus season (determined by ongoing transmission of influenza in community which is typically until late April/May).   Managers/supervisors are encouraged to notify HRDM Records (984-974-1050) if an employee is on a leave of absence, even if the employee is exhausting leave. This ensures that the employee’s true work status is reflected in the HRx system.

I have an employee who no longer works here and shows up on the non-compliance list?

When an employee is terminated, the manager must complete all required clearance forms to submit to Human Resources (HR). https://unchcs.intranet.unchealthcare.org/dept/hr/Documents/All%20Forms/uncmc/cleform.pdf.

The clearance process may take up to two weeks once HR has received the clearance forms. HR’s goal is to have the process completed as expeditiously as possible (within one or two days), but sometimes there are unforeseen delays. Examples include the need to verify the actual last date worked against KRONOS, employees transferring rather than resigning, or validating the reason code used on the Clearance Form.

Until the clearance forms reach HR and are processed, the employee will continue to appear on the non-compliance list. Please note, OHS cannot remove employees who no longer work at UNC HC from the non-compliance list.

I refuse to receive a flu vaccine?

Receiving a flu vaccine is a condition of employment, just like vaccinations for mumps, measles, varicella, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis, which are required for UNC Health Care employees. You must receive your vaccination or complete documentation of medical contraindication or religious exemption by Nov. 12, 2018 at 8 a.m. Non-compliance with our influenza vaccine policy will result in termination of employment.

Additional Questions and Answers

What are the strains contained in this year’s influenza vaccine?

There are many flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses that research suggests will be most common. For 2018-2019, quadrivalent vaccines contain 2 A strains and 2 B strains of flu:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09–like virus
  • A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Colorado/06/2017–like virus (Victoria lineage).
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013–like virus (Yamagata lineage).

More information about influenza is available at the CDC Flu website: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm

Can I get the nasal spray vaccine?
No. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted in June 2016 that live influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season and this decision has not changed for the current season: 2018-2019. Therefore, nasal flu vaccine will not be used at UNC.

Who approved making the flu vaccine program a requirement?
The UNC Health Care Leadership Team (led by Dr. Roper) approved this policy. The policy was also discussed and approved by other leadership groups within UNC Medical Center, UNC Faculty Physicians and the UNC School of Medicine.

Do professional organizations or other hospitals recommend a policy mandating a flu vaccine?
Yes. Several of the key professional organizations have endorsed policies that recommend making receipt of flu vaccine a condition of employment, including the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Infectious Disease Society of America, and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.  Policies requiring flu vaccine as a condition of employment are becoming common at health care facilities across America. UNC REX Healthcare and Chatham Hospital join us and more than 40 hospitals in North Carolina in requiring a flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and The Joint Commission also strongly encourage this practice.

What are the risks of getting the influenza vaccine?
A flu vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause problems such as an allergic reaction. However, the risk of an influenza vaccine causing serious harm is extremely small. Mild problems may include: soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site; hoarseness; itchiness; low-grade fever; and body aches. If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot is administered and may last up to two days. Tylenol is effective in alleviating many of these mild side effects.

Can the flu vaccine cause the flu?
No. It takes up to three weeks for protection to develop after the shot. Protection lasts up to a year. The flu vaccine cannot cause the flu! However, flu vaccine will NOT protect against the other causes of the “common cold,” so healthcare personnel should continue to follow these other rules: Stay home if you are sick with an upper respiratory infection, wash hands in the fall/winter seasons after contact with persons with cough or runny nose, eat healthy, and exercise appropriately.

What about Thimerosal?
Some inactivated influenza vaccine contains a preservative called Thimerosal. Some people have suggested that Thimerosal may be related to developmental problems in children. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine reviewed many studies looking into this theory and concluded that there is NO EVIDENCE of such a relationship. However, all influenza vaccine purchased by UNC Medical Center is thimerosal-free.

Why do I need the flu vaccination every year?
Because influenza viruses are always changing, influenza vaccines are updated every year and an annual vaccination is recommended. Each year scientists use data about the commonly circulating strains throughout the world to match the viruses in the vaccine to those most likely to cause flu that year.

Where can I find more information?

Flu Surveillance Reports