iUTMB Home Page iUTMB    Published Thursday, November 14, 2013, 10:36 AM

Healthcare Workers and Employees with Patient Contact


All Health Care Workers and Other Employees with Patient Contact
C. Glen Mayhall, MD, Healthcare Epidemiologist
Shirley Shores, CIC, Director
Implementation of masking for unvaccinated health care workers and vaccinated health care workers not wearing 2013-2014 “Flu Free” badge card
The most recent information on influenza from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that the 2013-2014 influenza season has started. The CDC map of influenza activity in the U.S. shows that activity in Texas is local. It is likely to become widespread in the next few weeks. Recently, the UTMB Clinical Microbiology Laboratory has identified several cases of influenza A.
Therefore, health care workers and other employees who have patient contact and who have not been immunized with the influenza vaccine for the 2013-2014 season must start wearing surgical masks while at work as of Monday, November 18, 2013.
While signing a declination form does mean you are compliant with IHOP policy 03.07.07, masking is required because this is risk reduction and is not a punitive measure. Masks must be worn while at work until the end of the flu season. The Healthcare Epidemiology Department will communicate the date when the masking requirement ends.
Vaccinated health care workers and other employees who have patient contact must wear their “Flu Free 2013-2014” badge cards to indicate they have received the influenza vaccine. If you have direct patient contact and are not wearing the “Flu Free 2013-2014” badge card, you will be asked to wear a mask, even if you received the vaccine. Staff members who fail to comply with masking requirements will be reported to their supervisor.
Health care workers who have not yet been vaccinated this season may still receive the vaccine at the Employee Health Office in the Primary Care Pavilion.

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