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UNMC to require COVID vaccination; Creighton mandates shots for on-campus students

UNMC to require COVID vaccination; Creighton mandates shots for on-campus students

Faculty, staff and students at the University of Nebraska Medical Center will be required to document that they’re either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have declined the vaccine.

The documentation requirement, which goes into effect June 21, applies only to UNMC, not to other campuses in the NU system, said Jane Meza, interim executive director for the office of health security at UNMC and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

UNMC similarly requires documentation for the flu shot, Meza said, “so, to me, it’s not any different than that.”

UNMC is requiring documentation for the COVID vaccination because of its clinical responsibilities. Students have academic rotations in clinics and hospital wards, where they have interactions with patients. Some clinical locations may require vaccination. In that regard, documentation will help with student placements.

“We’re absolutely about protecting everyone in our community, our students, faculty, staff and patients and the broader community,” Meza said. “We strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated. We know that the vaccines are effective against COVID.”

Those who opt to remain unvaccinated or who are unwilling to document their status will be required to mask at all times while on the UNMC campus or in Nebraska Medicine facilities. They also may be denied the opportunity to participate in clinical rotations and educational endeavors at outside partner institutions.

UNO, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska at Kearney are strongly encouraging faculty, staff and students to get vaccinated against COVID but are not requiring the shots, said Melissa Lee, an NU spokeswoman.

UNL and UNO also announced last month that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to adhere to most masking and social distancing requirements.

Creighton University, on the other hand, will require all students to be fully vaccinated before reporting to its Omaha and Phoenix campuses, effective July 7, the Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, CU’s president, said in a recent message to the Creighton community.

Vaccination is not required for Creighton faculty and staff, but people in those groups are strongly encouraged to get the shots. Hendrickson noted that 95% of benefits-eligible faculty and staff in Omaha and 82% in Phoenix already were fully vaccinated by late May. So were 72% of Omaha students and 76% of those in Phoenix.

The decision to require vaccinations for students reporting to the university’s campuses, he wrote, “allows us to loosen our COVID-19 restrictions and more fully and safely realize the community experience that makes Creighton so special.”

Creighton also dropped masking and social distancing requirements for fully vaccinated people in late May. Those who have not been vaccinated are required to continue masking and distancing. Students, faculty and staff are asked to upload confirmation of COVID vaccinations to a campus record system.

Meza said that an analysis done after vaccines initially were made available early this year indicated that about 85% of UNMC’s faculty, staff and students got a vaccine. The disclosure process will allow university officials to update that information as new students, faculty and staff join the campus community.

Omaha World-Herald: Live Well

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Julie Anderson is a medical reporter for The World-Herald. She covers health care and health care trends and developments, including hospitals, research and treatments. Follow her on Twitter @JulieAnderson41. Phone: 402-444-1066.

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