66 UA Workers Not in Compliance with Mumps Vaccine Directive

Following a public health directive from the Arkansas Department of Health requiring all UA employees to show documentation of two MMR vaccines, 66 workers are not in compliance, with 14 exempt for health, religious or philosophical reasons.

Following a state health directive after 35 mumps cases were confirmed on campus in December 2019, 66 of the UofA’s 4,000 workers are still not in compliance.

As of Jan. 24, there are 43 UA employees with no MMR documented – a violation of the directive which required all UA employees to show documentation of two MMR vaccine doses in their lifetime. vThere are 23 employees out of compliance with one documented MMR and 664 in compliance and ready for their second dose of MMR, said Zac Brown, communications director at the UA Pat Walker Health Center, in an email.

This was brought to faculty members’ attention when Terry Martin, senior vice provost for academic affairs, addressed the faculty senate Jan. 15, stating that 194 workers had not complied with the Arkansas Department of Health directive issued Dec. 27.

ADH issued a public health directive for students Nov. 22 after health officials confirmed nine mumps cases on campus. On Dec. 13, when the number of confirmed cases had reached 35, ADH expanded their directive to require all university employees, vendors and contractors born in 1957 or later to provide documentation of receiving two MMR vaccines in their lifetime by Jan. 10.

PWHC officials first notified employees impacted by the directive on Dec. 14 via email, Brown said.

“We had a very positive response from faculty and staff over the course of the three-day vaccine clinic held at PWHC, with a large portion of those impacted able to either provide documentation to ADH or get vaccinated,” Brown said.

Employees received consistent reminder notifications leading up to the Jan. 10 deadline, including right before and after winter break, and ADH organized additional clinics before the deadline, Brown said. Employees also had the option to submit their records online.

“Once we returned from break, we were able to further target employees based on their immunization status,” Brown said.

PWHC officials have recorded 14 approvals for employees with a medical, religious or philosophical exemption from vaccination, Brown said. These employees are excluded from all work and activities on campus until the outbreak is over.

Arkansas health officials consider an outbreak over after there are no new diagnoses for 52 days.

More than half of remaining employees not in compliance are hourly employees, Brown said. While some are aware they cannot work on campus until the outbreak is over, others are not working because they are not needed until later in the semester. The list also includes recently hired employees and any employee on leave or out of the country.

“Some also could be errors, but those specific cases are quickly identified and addressed,” Brown said. “Regardless, the list of employees that are currently out-of-compliance is fluid and changes often.”

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