Vaccination Policy for Research Personnel

OBJECTIVE

To provide guidance to the University of Florida research community regarding required and optional vaccinations for certain disease-causing biological agents.

AUTHORITY

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.

POLICY

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, you are required to be vaccinated prior to working with the agent (see UF Required Licensed Vaccines for a complete list of required vaccines and associated ACIP recommendations). 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).

  1. You must document your decision to accept or decline the vaccine by submitting a Required Vaccines: Acceptance/Declination/Request for Additional Information Form to the Biosafety Office.
  2. If you have previously received the required vaccine(s) AND are current on all recommended vaccine boosters, official medical records indicating:

    1.the date (month and year) of your vaccination(s)/booster(s), OR
    2.laboratory evidence of immunity, must be provided to the UF Medical Provider for interpretation and verification.

  3.  All vaccinations will be provided in consultation with appropriate UF Medical Providers according to ACIP recommended dosing schedules at no cost to the employee.
    1. 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 Criteria for UF Required Licensed Vaccines).
    2. 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.
  4. Waiver Policy: You may request a waiver using the Request to Waive Required Licensed Vaccines Form. You must include a justification for the waiver request. The request will be evaluated by the Biosafety Officer and UF Medical Provider with input from the UF Institutional Biosafety Committee. UF General Counsel will also be consulted as needed.
    1.  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.

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, you are strongly encouraged, although not required, to receive the vaccination prior to working with the agent (see FDA-Licensed Vaccines that may be recommended based on risk assessment).
     a. As part of UF’s Blood Borne Pathogen Program, you must document your decision to accept or decline the Hepatitis B vaccine with the UF Bloodborne Pathogen Training/Vaccination Form Acceptance/Declination Statement.

When an employee may be at risk for occupational exposure to a highly pathogenic agent for which no licensed vaccine is available, but for which investigational products are available via an Investigational New Drug (IND) protocol through the Special Immunizations Program (SIP) administered by the US Army Medical Research and Material Command, the IND vaccines will be made available on a voluntary basis with informed consent-see Investigational New Drug (IND) Vaccines Available Through The Special Immunization Program (SID). If you work with an agent for which an IND vaccine exists, you must document that you have been made aware that an IND vaccine may be available through the SIP program and have been provided with contact information for the SIP program by completing the Acknowledgement of Receipt of Information: IND Vaccines Form.

  1.  Biological Safety Office:
    1. Develop and update the policy as necessary.
    2. Ensure that research personnel are aware of and comply with the policy.
    3. Review the ACIP and federal/state recommendations regarding the vaccination of research staff.
    4. Make recommendations for waiver requests.
    5. In conjunction with the Institutional Biosafety Committee, jointly choose the appropriate UF Medical Provider for the purposes of this policy.

  2. UF Medical Provider:
    1. Assist the Biological Safety Office in reviewing the ACIP and federal/state recommendations regarding the vaccination of research staff.
    2. Discuss the benefits and risks of immunizations with personnel receiving vaccines or requesting vaccine waivers.
    3. Evaluate and approve or deny vaccine waiver requests, taking into account opinions of other clinical specialists and recommendations from the Biological Safety Officer and Institutional Biosafety Committee.
    4. Provide vaccinations as required.

  3. Institutional Biosafety Committee:
    1. Assist the Biological Safety Office in reviewing the ACIP and federal/state recommendations regarding the vaccination of research staff.
    2. Make recommendations for waiver requests.
    3. In conjunction with the Biological Safety Officer, jointly choose the appropriate UF Medical Provider for the purposes of this policy.

  4. General Council:
    Provide consultation, as requested and appropriate, on legal aspects of vaccination waivers.

  5. Principal Investigators:
    1. Ensure that impacted research personnel are referred to appropriate physician consultants and to the Biological Safety Office for advisement on vaccination requirements.
    2. Enforce any vaccination requirement that is imposed.

 

Issued February 17, 2014;  Revised March 8, 2018.