UMMC to require masks for unvaccinated individuals at all times

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Photo Courtesy of the University of Mississippi Medical Center

A newly announced policy will require employees and students at the University of Mississippi Medical Center to wear an N95 mask at all times if they’re not vaccinated. 

Designed to encourage “anyone who works or learns in a UMMC facility or clinic to get fully vaccinated,” the policy will take effect on July 26th and be phased in over three months beginning with managers/supervisors, followed by direct-patient-care employees and then all others not covered in the earlier phases. 

“We treat the state’s most vulnerable patients, from premature infants to immunocompromised adults, and everyone in between. When we became health care professionals or chose to work or study in a health care environment, we accepted the responsibility to always do what’s in the best interests of our patients. This is one of those times,” Dr. LouAnn Woodward, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine, said.

By the end of the phase in period, anyone at UMMC who is not vaccinated, either through choice or accommodation, must wear an N95 mask at all times—even in non-patient-care areas—with certain exceptions.

Fully vaccinated persons will be eligible to display a sticker on their UMMC-issued ID badge, and as a result, will only be required to wear a mask when in UMMC areas where direct patient care is being administered. In patient-care areas, the UMMC policy for mask use is still in effect and use of a self-selected paper or cloth mask or appropriate mask as determined by the clinical situation is required for fully vaccinated individuals.

Additionally, a news release further explained that once the Food and Drug Administration lifts the emergency use authorization designation from any vaccine that UMMC administers, the option to decline a vaccine other than for certain accommodations will no longer be available. At that time, receiving the COVID-19 vaccination will become a condition of employment or enrollment – similar to the UMMC policy requiring employees and students receive the flu vaccine annually.

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