Vaccination Policy for Research Personnel
To provide guidance to the University of Florida research community regarding required and optional vaccinations for certain disease-causing biological agents and toxins.
By authority delegated from the University President, the Vice-President for Business Affairs is responsible for the safety of all University facilities. Under this authority, policies are developed to provide a safe teaching, research, service, housing and recreational environment.
All University of Florida employees who may be at risk for occupational exposure to certain biological agents and toxins must follow this vaccination policy.
Required Vaccinations – If there is a licensed vaccine available and the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) provides specific vaccination recommendations for the type of work you are performing, OR the vaccine is required by federal regulations, the employee is required to be vaccinated prior to working with the agent (see ACIP Recommended/UF Required FDA-Licensed Vaccines).
Strongly Recommended Vaccinations - If there is a licensed vaccine available for the agent(s) you are working with that does not fall under Required Vaccinations above, and a risk assessment performed by the Biosafety Office recommends vaccination for the work you are performing, the employee is strongly encouraged, although not required, to receive the vaccination prior to working with the agent (see FDA-Licensed Vaccines that may be Recommended).
Investigational New Drug (IND) Vaccinations - Employees who may be at risk for occupational exposure to pathogenic agents for which no commercially available licensed vaccine is available will be informed of the Special Immunizations Program (SIP; administered through the US Army Medical Research and Material Command at its Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Maryland). The SIP program makes certain vaccines available via an Investigational New Drug (IND) protocol. These vaccines are not required for work with these agents.
Biological Safety Office
- Develop and update the policy as necessary.
- Ensure that research personnel comply with the policy.
- Work with the UF Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), the Occupational Medicine Director and UF General Council to discuss and consider waiver requests.
Director of Occupational Medicine
- Assist the Biological Safety Office in reviewing the ACIP and CDC recommendations regarding the vaccination of research staff and to assist with the evaluation of waiver requests.
- Discuss the benefits and risks of immunizations with personnel receiving vaccines or requesting vaccine waivers.
- Provide vaccinations as required.
- Assist the Biological Safety Office in evaluating requests for vaccination waivers.
- Ensure that impacted research personnel are referred to the Biological Safety Office for advisement on vaccination requirements.
- Enforce any vaccination requirement that is imposed.
You must document your decision to accept or decline the vaccine by submitting an Acceptance/Declination/Request to Waive Required Licensed Vaccines Form to the Biosafety Office.
- Review the agent fact sheets and vaccine information sheets
- Schedule a consultation appointment with the Occupational Health Physician through the Student Health Care Center (SHCC) to review immunization options.
- If you have previously been vaccinated AND are current on all recommended vaccine boosters you must provide either:
- The date (month and year) of your vaccination(s)/booster(s) AND the signature of the physician/medical provider (or authorized representative) that administered the vaccine; OR
- Laboratory evidence of immunity which must be provided to the UF Occupational Medicine Provider for interpretation and verification.
All vaccinations will be provided in consultation with the UF Occupational Health Physician according to ACIP recommended dosing schedules at no cost to the individual.
- If immunogenicity data is available, the data will be used to determine at what point the individual is considered “protected” and approved for work with the agent (See Dosing Schedules and Immunogenicity Data – Required Vaccines).
- If there is no immunogenicity data available, an individual will be considered “protected” and approved for work with the agent two weeks after the final vaccine dose.
If there is a disagreement about the applicability of the ACIP recommendation, the UF Biological Safety Office shall make the final decision with input from the UF Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).
- If you have questions regarding the applicability of the ACIP recommendations to your specific work duties, contact the Biosafety Office to discuss your concerns.
Waivers – While waivers are not typically given, you may request a waiver using the Acceptance/Declination/Request to Waive Required Licensed Vaccines Form.
- You must provide a justification for the waiver request.
- The request will then be evaluated by a group consisting of the UF Occupational Medicine provider, UF attorney’s office, the IBC and the Biological Safety Office. If there are fewer than three of the four groups in agreement, the ACIP recommendation will prevail.
- If your waiver request is not approved and you decline vaccination, you will not be able to perform the duties that triggered the vaccine requirement.
Strongly Recommended Vaccines
You must document your decision to accept or decline the vaccine by submitting an Acceptance/Declination of Recommended Licensed Vaccines Form to the Biosafety Office.
- Review the agent fact sheets and vaccine information sheets
- Note: For acceptance/declination of the Hepatitis B vaccine – please use the UF Bloodborne Pathogen Training/Vaccination Form Acceptance/Declination Statement.
Investigational New Drug (IND) Vaccines
If you work with an agent for which an IND vaccine exists (Francisella tularemia, Rift Valley Fever virus, Eastern equine encephalitis virus or Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus) you are required to complete and sign the Acknowledgement of Receipt of Information: Investigational New Drug (IND) Vaccines form.
Issued February 17, 2014; Revised May 20, 2014.