Sent on behalf of the Continuity of Operations Task Force

The omicron variant continues to spread quickly and the number of COVID infections is growing at a more rapid pace. The best defensive strategy continues to be vaccination, masking, sanitizing and limiting exposure to large groups, particularly in indoor settings.

As noted in earlier communications, EVMS is implementing a booster vaccine requirement. It is now EVMS policy to require that all employees and students follow the CDC booster guidelines as soon as possible and in no event after Feb. 15, 2022.

All EVMS employees, residents, fellows and students are now required to document through the VAX portal having received a booster shot no later than Feb. 15, 2022. The guidance from CDC on booster shots may be found here. A summary of that guidance follows:

When to get a booster

If you received Pfizer-BioNTech: At least 5 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series

  • If you received Moderna: At least 6 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series
  • If you received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen: At least 2 months after receiving your J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccination

Which booster to get

Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) are preferred in most situations. Use of heterologous booster doses (mix and match) is authorized for those 18 years and older. For a given COVID-19 primary vaccine series, heterologous boosters elicited similar or higher antibody responses as compared to their respective homologous booster responses.

How to find a COVID-19 vaccine or booster

Search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1.800.232.0233 to find locations near you.

COVID-19 vaccination and SARS-CoV-2 infection

People with known current SARS-CoV-2 infection should defer vaccination at least until recovery from the acute illness (if symptoms were present) has been achieved and criteria to discontinue isolation have been met. Current evidence about the optimal timing between SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination isinsufficient to provide more specific guidance.

Additionally, EVMS continues to require masking in all indoor settings. Both procedural masks and cloth face coverings are acceptable in non-clinical areas. That said, all the face coverings that are being worn should have multiple layers, fit snugly and have a nose wire as recommended by the CDC masking guidelines.

Finally, EVMS has implemented the CDC Contingency Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel. This guidance applies to the management of all employees, residents and fellows and students.

We remain grateful for the understanding and support of the EVMS community as we work our way through this unprecedented pandemic.

While the number of EVMS employees exposed to COVID-positive persons and/or developing symptoms consistent with COVID has decreased slightly from a few weeks ago, the level is still well above where we were before the emergence of the omicron variant.

As a reminder, we have streamlined our “What Should I Do?” protocol as follows:

• Individuals who have had close contact with a COVID-positive person, anyone who has symptoms consistent with COVID, or anyone who has tested positive using a home or community test must complete the REDCap EVMS/EVMS Medical Group Exposure Survey.

• If you have tested positive with a home or community test, you must also email pictures of the test card and test box with your name, date of birth and the date you took the test to occhealth@evms.edu using your EVMS email address only. Acceptance of home tests will continue until Friday, Feb. 4.

• Occupational Health will contact you within one business day if you are clinical and three business days if you are non-clinical from the time you submit the survey. Please do not contact Occupational Health to inquire about being screened unless it has been longer than the time frame that applies to your situation.

• After speaking with you, any other information you need to know, such as other testing requirements or required forms, will be provided to you by Occupational Health.

• You cannot report to work until Occupational Health has cleared you in writing. You will receive an email confirmation that you have been cleared.

Please contact Human Resources if you have questions regarding the screening protocol at 757.446.6043 or EVMSHR@evms.edu. We will try to ensure questions are answered the same day if submitted before 3 p.m. that day. Questions submitted after 4 p.m. will be answered the next business day.

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation as we work to keep our campus community safe.