All VCU faculty and staff must be vaccinated or have a VCU-approved religious or medical exemption from vaccination. New hires are required to report COVID-19 vaccination or, if applicable, submit requests for medical or religious exemptions within the first three days of employment; this is completed as part of their onboarding process. New hires who are dually employed with VCU Health System must report to both VCU and VCU Health. If you have questions about how to submit your vaccination documentation or apply for a medical or religious exemption, speak with your HR Professional.
Requests for an exemption
Employees whose exemption requests are approved or under review participate in weekly asymptomatic surveillance testing; they will receive an email from email@example.com with instructions on how to participate in required testing.
Have a question that isn’t answered below? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: 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: Is the time that it takes for me to get tested considered work time?
A: Yes. Surveillance testing for all employees, including hourly/wage is considered work time.
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: Are Covid vaccine boosters required?
A: Booster shots are not required, but they are encouraged when you become eligible. Keep your booster information in a safe place alongside your original COVID-19 vaccination documentation. Click here to learn more about booster shots and eligibility.
Q: I lost my vaccination card. How do I go about getting a copy of my record?
A: 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:
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: Are medical and religious exemptions permitted?
A: Yes. Exceptions are permitted 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 are required to complete daily health checks, participate in asymptomatic surveillance testing, and adhere to all mitigating health and safety protocols.
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 face disciplinary action up to and including termination. All employees with medical and religious exemptions, and who do not have a remote work-only exemption, must comply with weekly testing requirements. Employees 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 are subject to termination.
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 honors the exemptions provided to VCU employees for medical or religious reasons.
Q: If I request a medical exemption, who has access to my personal health information?
A: Only Employee Health Services reviews medical exemption requests and personal health information.
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.