Vaccination is required for all VCU faculty and staff by September 15
All VCU faculty and staff are required to report COVID-19 vaccination or, if applicable, submit requests for medical or religious exemptions. The deadline for current employees was Sept. 15, 2021. If you have already reported your vaccination, there is no action required on your part. Employees who are dually employed with VCU Health System must report vaccination to both the university and the health system (information about health system requirements can be found through the VCU Health System intranet).
For university employees, this decision aligns with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s Executive Directive 18, which directs state employees, including university employees, to be vaccinated (with allowances for medical and religious exemptions), and mirrors the vaccine requirement for VCU students.
How to report your vaccination
You can upload your documentation here. There are several ways for you to upload your documentation:
- Snap a picture of your COVID-19 vaccine card with your phone, ensuring all information on the card is visible in the picture
- Scan your card on a printer
- Take a screenshot of the confirmation email from your health care provider or pharmacy and save it as a JPG, PNG, or GIF.
The file formats that work best are JPG, PNG and GIF.
Requests for an exemption
The deadline for submitting vaccination exemption requests for current employees was Sept. 15, 2021. Employees whose exemption requests are approved or under review are required to participate in frequent asymptomatic surveillance testing, which is offered on-campus through VCU at no cost to the employee. Employees will receive an email from VCU with further instructions on how to participate in required testing.
Frequently asked questions
Have a question that isn’t answered below? Send your questions to email@example.com.
Q: What is the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines?
A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Health and VCU Health have developed frequently asked questions related to the safety and efficacy regarding the types of vaccines available.
For a quick reference of the three vaccines, download this guide from VCU Health.
Q: What if I’ve already had COVID-19 and acquired a natural immunity? Should I still get the vaccine?
A: Yes, according to the CDC, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That's because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. However, please consult with your health-care provider for medical advice specific to you.
Q: If I’m considering pregnancy, should I get the vaccine?
A: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that all eligible women, including those who are pregnant and lactating, receive the vaccine. It cannot alter your DNA or your baby’s DNA. However, please consult with your health-care provider for medical advice specific to you.
Q: What is the deadline for reporting my vaccination?
A: University employees must report vaccination or request a medical or religious exemption by September 15, 2021.
Q: How do I report my vaccination status?
A: You can upload your documentation here. You can also find the link in the daily health survey. There are several ways for you to upload your documentation:
- Snap a picture of your COVID-19 vaccine card with your phone
- Scan your card on a printer
- Take a screenshot of the confirmation email from your healthcare provider or pharmacy and save it as a JPG, PNG, or GIF.
The file formats that work best are JPG, PNG and GIF.
Q: What if I am dually employed by the university and the health system?
A: If you are dually employed through both the university and the health system, or if you are a university employee working in health system facilities, you must follow VCU Health System vaccination requirements for employees, which requires vaccination documentation or an approved exemption. Dually employed employees must report vaccine documentation or submit an exemption request to both the university and VCU Health System.
If you are a VCU employee with a "contingent worker" designation through VCU Health System, you are considered in compliance with the health system's COVID-19 vaccine requirement as long as you are in compliance with the university's COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
Q: Do I have to be vaccinated if I work 100% remotely?
A: Yes. The requirement to be vaccinated or submit an exemption is applicable to all employees regardless of remote work status. Employees with an approved medical or religious exemption and approved for 100% remote work that does not interface with the public, faculty, staff or students, will be required to attest that they will not be coming on campus; they will then be removed from the testing schedule. If the employee is required to return to on-campus work, then they must comply with all testing requirements.
Q: Does this requirement apply to those who work outside of the United States?
A: No. Compliance with this requirement is not a condition of employment for VCU employees who work outside of the United States.
Q: Where can I get vaccinated?
A: VCU continues to offer a number of on-campus vaccination opportunities by appointment. Employees can contact VCU Employee Health at (804) 828-0584 to schedule an appointment. If you are not close to campus and need to search for a vaccination opportunity near you, visit vaccinefinder.org.
Q: I lost my vaccination card. How do I go about getting a copy of my record?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend taking a photo of both sides of the card as a back up, in case you lose it. But if it is already lost, here are recommendations from the CDC:
- Contact your vaccination provider directly to access your vaccination record. If you received your COVID-19 vaccination through VCU Health System prior to CDC cards being issued, you can email VCU Health System Employee Health at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you can’t reach the vaccination provider, contact your state health department’s immunization information system. You can search Virginia's Immunization Information System here or call 877-VAX-IN-VA.
- If you enrolled in v-safe or VaxText, you can access your vaccination information through those tools.
- If you have made every effort to receive a copy of your vaccination card and still need a second shot, talk to a vaccination provider.
Q: Will time off be covered if I experience side effects for a day or two and can’t come to work?
A: Yes, up to eight hours of Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) may be used by any employee who experiences side effects from the vaccines and does not feel well enough to come to work. If an employee has exhausted their PHEL, the employee may use personal leave. Please discuss your leave options and balances with your HR Professional.
Q: If I have received the vaccine and uploaded my vaccine status, do I need to do anything at this point?
A: No. If you have received any of the COVID-19 vaccines, are fully vaccinated and have uploaded your vaccination record, you do not need to do anything further.
Q: Where can I check the status of my vaccination?
A: To check the status of your vaccination (or exemption), log in to your My VCU Portal. Once there, click on the dropdown menu next to your eID found on the left side of the screen toward the top. Then select "VCU Profile" tab. Your Vaccination Reporting Status (including exemption status) will be listed under that heading. Once your vaccination documentation has been verified, the status will indicate "Vaccination verified."
Q: What if I don’t comply with VCU’s vaccine requirement or obtain an exemption?
A: If you are receiving a vaccine that requires two shots, your first shot must be reported via the vaccine survey by September 15, 2021 as “vaccination in progress.” All employees must have a fully completed vaccination, vaccination in progress or approved exemption on file with VCU by Oct. 1, 2021, or they will be subject to termination. Employees with a vaccination in progress on October 1, 2021 must have received their second dose and uploaded supporting documentation no later than Oct. 15, 2021, or be subject to termination. Until you are fully vaccinated, you will be required to receive Covid testing as directed by the university, to complete your daily health check, and to comply with all other public health measures. You may report to work as usual during this time.
Q: What if I have a medical or religious exemption and fail to report for surveillance testing?
A: Employees who do not comply with testing requirements will face disciplinary action up to and including termination. All employees who are not fully vaccinated, including those with medical and religious exemptions, and who do not have a remote work-only exemption, must comply with weekly testing requirements. Employees will receive a warning if they miss one; if they miss two, they are placed on unpaid leave for up to 30 days or until they comply. If they miss three or are out of compliance for more than 30 days, they will be subject to termination.
Q: Will medical and religious exemptions be permitted?
A: Yes. Exceptions will be made for those with properly documented medical exemptions or sincerely held religious views (which includes sincerely held non-theistic views). Employees with medical or religious exemptions will not face disciplinary action; however, they will be required to complete daily health checks, participate in asymptomatic surveillance testing, and adhere to all mitigating health and safety protocols.
Q: What is the deadline to submit an exemption request?
A: Exemption requests must be submitted by Sept. 15.
Q: How long will medical and religious exemptions take to approve? Will I be subject to disciplinary action while my exemption is under review?
A: Exemptions will be reviewed as quickly as possible.Employees with exemptions under review will not be subject to disciplinary action but will be required to complete daily health checks, participate in the university’s COVID-19 surveillance testing and comply with all of the university’s other public health measures. You may report to work as usual while your exemption is under review.
Q: If I am a VCU employee and I receive a medical or religious exemption from VCU but I work in a VCU Health patient care or clinic setting, will I still need to comply with VCU Health’s requirement that I receive the vaccine?
A: VCU Health will honor the exemptions provided to VCU employees for medical or religious reasons.
Q: If I request a medical exemption, who will have access to my personal health information?
A: Employee Health Services will review medical exemption requests and are the only ones who will review personal health information.
Q: Where can I check the status of my exemption?
A: To check the status of your exemption, log in to your My VCU Portal. Once there, click on the dropdown menu next to your eID found on the left side of the screen toward the top. Then select "VCU Profile" tab. Your Vaccination Reporting Status (including exemption status) will be listed under that heading.
Q: If my medical or religious exemption request is denied, is there an appeal process?
A: Employees who are denied a request for a medical or religious exemption by the university and who believe the denial of an exemption request was unreasonable may file a complaint with the Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success (IES) or with the Office of Integrity and Compliance. Employees whose exemption requests have been denied will be advised of these and other resources by the VCU HR Office of Employee Relations. Page 10 of the university’s Preventing and Responding to Discrimination Policy provides information on how to file a complaint with IES here. If you would like to contact the office in relation to a civil rights complaint, you can email: email@example.com.