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COVID-19 Immunization Impact on Training

Being fully immunized against COVID-19 is very important for those of you who are in one of our professional health care programs that require you to participate in clinical (or experiential) learning environments.

Since many of our clinical sites require that all trainees be immunized against COVID-19, it is important that you understand the following implications if you choose not to be immunized.

1. UTHSC works with and has agreements with affiliated hospitals and clinics to provide clinical experiences and clinical rotations for students and caregivers. As part of your academic requirements, many of you will be required to participate in experiential learning and training (including clinical rotations, internships, practicums, and courses) located outside the traditional campus environment, that will occur in hospitals, clinics, physician/dental/clinical offices, pharmacies, care centers, and other locations wherein experiential learning is conducted (“clinical site”).

2. UTHSC must abide by the safety rules and guidelines of these institutions, hospitals, and clinics set for students and caregivers.

  • We have been notified by many clinical sites that they have mandated that all trainees be immunized against COVID-19 and are actively barring those who have not been immunized.
  • The President announced on September 9th that he has directed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to take action requiring that workers in most healthcare settings be immunized against COVID-19. We anticipate this requirement going into effect in October unless enjoined by court order.
  • The FDA has fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for adults over the age of 16 and emergency use of several other COVID-19 vaccines. Immunization is free and available on a walk-up basis in the community statewide (e.g., Kroger, Walgreens, Target, and many outpatient clinics).
  • Medical or religious exemptions may only be granted by the clinical training site. UTHSC may not grant or authorize any religious or personal medical exemptions on behalf of these off-campus clinical training facilities as they are independent of the University.

3. Students and caregivers who choose not to meet the safety requirements of these hospitals and clinics will not be able to have clinical experiences as a student or caregiver at these affiliated institutions. This may seriously impact your ability to progress, graduate on time, or graduate at all.

4. UTHSC does not assume responsibility and does not expect to be able to provide alternate experiences for these students and caregivers. As a consequence, the College may involuntarily withdraw you from your educational program due to being barred by the clinical training site.

  • Most of UTHSC’s professional accreditors require that students be prepared to work in the settings where they are likely to be employed. Based on specific program requirements, programs may not be able to waive clinical experiences in settings where persons with COVID-19 are likely to be treated.
May 26, 2022