This is an urgent reminder that the October 1, 2021 deadline has passed. It is critical that you upload your COVID vaccine or exemption documentation to VerifiedCredentials immediately. At this time, you must upload a completed vaccination series or an exemption form, with proof of a negative COVID-19 test, no later than October 25, 2021 at 12:00 PM. If proper documentation is not uploaded, you will not be permitted to attend clinicals until it has been completed.
Refer to the September 15, 2021 announcement for vaccine uploading instructions.
Dr. Heather Gable, Dean
We hope that you all had a great summer, and we are thrilled to welcome you back to campus. As you know, COVID-19 cases are on the rise. Centra Health, Inc. has decided to require the COVID-19 vaccination for all Caregivers. The term 'Caregiver' includes Centra College students, faculty, and staff. We are sharing the communication that went out to all Caregivers at Centra Health, Inc. on Monday, August 16, 2021. Some additional information follows the announcement. However, logistics regarding vaccine clinics, COVID-19 testing, exemption forms, and uploading of documentation into VerifiedCredentials will be forthcoming. We are sharing this information so that you have an opportunity to start the vaccination series as soon as possible. Please read the following message carefully and thoughtfully.
Our responsibility as Centra Caregivers is to deliver the best possible care to our community, whilst doing no harm.
Over the last 18 months, we have experienced the challenges of COVID-19 on and in our community. For each and every of the last 501 days of dealing with COVID-19, we have made difficult decisions and constantly adjusted our aim to reflect the fluid dynamic that COVID-19 has and continues to present. As we go into the Fall, we face the epidemiological consequences of our local population who are approximately 40% vaccinated against the virus, a population of Centra caregivers where the vaccination rate is less than 60%, a spike in COVID-19 cases, and, furthermore with the Delta variant, a more virulent strain of the virus.
It is in this context that we must consider how we continue to provide the highest quality care patients and visitors should and can expect of Centra, combined with a safe working environment that our Caregivers deserve. As such, Centra has decided to require that by midnight November 1st, 2021, all of our Caregivers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This requirement aligns with Centra’s longstanding influenza vaccine requirement. We have prepared guidance on how to comply with this COVID-19 vaccine requirement, which guidance follows below.
A decision of this magnitude must be and was taken based on scientific facts, data, and evidence, knowing that the vaccine is proven not only to be safe but also to be the single most effective tool in preventing the spread of this virus. Our decision was also taken after careful and deliberate consultations with our clinical colleagues, who have been at the forefront of those conversations, always prioritizing the safety of our patients and Caregivers.
We also worked diligently to invite diverse and representative groups from across our organization to share their perspectives. Those views were a guiding factor in the complex analysis resulting in our decision. Furthermore, we consulted with national, regional, and state healthcare officials, as well as received unanimous approval for the COVID-19 vaccine requirement from our three hospital Medical Executive Committees, the Centra Board of Directors, and the CEO Workgroup.
In closing, please know how impressed I have been and continue to be by Centra’s response to the pandemic; also, know how grateful I am, for the leadership that you will demonstrate in our health system and for our community, in your compliance with Centra’s vaccine requirements.
Interim President and CEO
What do you need to do?
Timeline for Vaccination
All Centra College students are encouraged to become vaccinated as soon as possible but will be required to be fully vaccinated no later than midnight November 1st, 2021. In order to meet this deadline, students must receive their first dose by October 1st, 2021.
Education and Safety Information
We recognize that some students who are not vaccinated are hesitant to do so due to uncertainty or personal safety concerns. You may visit the CDC COVID-19 Vaccine site for additional information in the link below.
Proof of Prior Vaccination
Students who have already received their vaccination will be required to confirm their vaccine status. Proof of prior immunization should be uploaded to VerifiedCredentials. Please upload the document to the ‘COVID-19 Vaccination’ field within your account or under the ‘other documents’ field.
Students who are not able to be vaccinated for medical or sincerely held religious beliefs may request an exemption. Students are required to complete a Medical and/or Religious Exemption form(s) with supporting documentation.
All religious exemption forms must be completed and uploaded to VerifiedCredentials by October 1st. Caregivers will be notified if their form is approved or denied and, if approved, of any restrictions they will be required to follow so long as they remain unvaccinated.
All Medical Exemption Forms must be completed and uploaded to VerifiedCredentials by October 1st, 2021. Caregivers will be notified if their form is approved or denied and, if approved, of any restrictions they will be required to follow so long as they remain unvaccinated.
All students granted an exemption approval will begin COVID testing beginning the week prior to the start date of any rotation on a Centra campus and continuing weekly for the duration of the rotation.
(Edited by Holly Puckett - original submission Tuesday, 24 August 2021, 2:29 PM)