Why is Kaiser Permanente requiring proof of vaccination from vendors coming on to KP facilities?
COVID-19 vaccines are the most-effective way to prevent infection. As a leader in preventative health care and to do the most we can to bring an end to this pandemic, we are requiring all Kaiser Permanente employees and on-site workers, including employees of our vendors and suppliers who are physically in KP facilities, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Additionally, boosters are required in our California markets beginning March 1, per the CDPH health order.
We are also joining national efforts to encourage more companies to follow our lead, to keep our employees, communities, and all those who reside in them, safe and healthy. We have developed a COVID-19 Workforce Vaccine Policy Toolkit to help you develop your vaccination program. [Read more: Wall Street Journal article]
When does this requirement take effect?
The vaccine requirement went into effect in our California markets on August 23, 2021 and in all other Kaiser Permanente markets by September 30, 2021. The booster requirement was announced on December 22 and takes effect on March 1 in California markets.
What is the requirement for booster vaccinations for California health care workers?
The California Department of Public Health (CDHP) has extended its mandatory vaccination requirement covering workers in health care settings to now require that booster-eligible workers receive their COVID-19 booster vaccination by March 1, 2022. All California-based booster-eligible health care workers who have not received their booster vaccination must be tested for COVID-19 weekly or twice weekly, depending on whether they work in acute care or non-acute care settings, starting December 27, 2021. All booster-eligible health care workers who have not submitted proof that they have received their booster vaccination by March 1 will be out of compliance. Employees who are not immediately eligible for a booster will have 15 days to receive their booster vaccination once they become eligible.
Are vendor employees required to have booster vaccinations in markets outside of California?
In the markets outside of California, there is currently no requirement for vendor employees to have booster vaccinations. For vendors/facilities that have vendor credentialing systems (e.g., vendormate), vendor employees are encouraged to update their booster vaccination status if they have received one.
What facility types are included in this vaccination requirement? Does it apply to employees who work on KP property, but outside of the facility?
This applies to all indoor locations where care is provided to patients, including all general acute care hospitals, skilled and intermediate care facilities, ambulatory surgery centers (ASC), clinics and doctors’ offices including behavioral health, dental offices, dialysis centers, home care/home health/hospice, substance abuse and mental health facilities. Vendors and contractors who do not physically enter a KP facility or work remote/offsite are not included in these requirements, unless required by additional state or local ordinances.
Will our employees have to show proof of verification every time they come from a KP facility?
Vendor representatives should be prepared to show proof of vaccination and booster (paper or digital) each time they enter a KP facility. All vendor representatives should still display their “2021 vaccination confirmation sticker,” which visually shows that they received their initial vaccination series, per the requirements on the KP Supplier website. For vendors/facilities that have vendor credentialing systems (e.g., vendormate), those processes should also be followed.
What happens if my employee is turned away from the facility and is unable to complete their task or delivery? What if it is an emergency?
If you do not comply with KP vaccination policies your vendor representatives will be unable to enter KP facility. Please work with local Kaiser Permanente leadership or your supply chain contacts to help support completion of your service or delivery. Emergencies will be addressed on a case-by-case basis by local KP facility leadership.
What documentation does a vendor need to maintain?
Vendors are required to maintain documentation of the vaccination status of its employees who enter KP premises and any authorized declination of vaccination documentation. Vendors are also responsible for ensuring their contractors who enter KP premises are compliant with these requirements. Upon request by KP, vendors and their subcontractors must provide documentation of compliance with these requirements.
Should we prepare for changes to the stickers? Will we be asked to make 2022 stickers in January?
There are currently no changes to the 2021 vaccination confirmation stickers, which signifies employees have completed their vaccination series, per the 2021 CDC guidelines. Kaiser Permanente is not yet requiring updating the stickers for booster requirements. We will inform our vendors and suppliers if and when an update is required for these stickers.
What forms of proof of COVID-19 vaccination will Kaiser Permanente accept for building entry?
Any valid physical or digital COVID-19 vaccination record may be shown upon entry to a KP facility, along with a valid photo ID. This includes, but may not be limited to, a physical or digital (e.g. photo) copy of a CDC vaccination card, immunization record from a health care provider, or digital record approved through a state agency (e.g. California Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record; Colorado myVaccineRecord, etc.).
VACCINATION & TESTING QUESTIONS
What if a vendor representative recently had COVID-19 and has recovered, as they may continue to test positive?
CDC studies have found that adults who previously tested positive for COVID-19 but are no longer infectious may continue to shed detectable SARS-CoV-1 RNA up to 90 days post infection, which may lead to “false” positive test results. Vendor representatives who recently recovered from COVID-19 must work with their employer to ensure they have been cleared by a physician to discontinue isolation and return to work. As an alternative to testing, vendor companies may provide these vendor representatives with documentation that states the individual is temporarily waived from the testing requirement for up to 90 days, noting the start and end date of the 90-day period. Vendor representatives must also follow PPE guidelines and other daily symptom self-check process, affirming they are symptom free each time they enter a KP facility. KP employees must note this in the COVID Vax Facility Access form before vendor representative entry to the KP facility.
These vendor representative employees should also be encouraged to receive their COVID-19 vaccination once they have recovered from acute illness and meet the criteria for discontinuing isolation, as they will not be able to enter a KP facility after October 1st, 2021 unless they qualify for a medical or religious exemption.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe? Do they really work?
The COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and effective. They meet the Food and Drug Administration’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed for emergency use authorization and are expected to gain full FDA approval soon. Ultimately, vaccines give us the opportunity to move beyond the pandemic and begin rebuilding daily life — just as vaccination has brought an end to the epidemics of smallpox, polio, and other deadly diseases.
What do we tell our employees who are unvaccinated?
Request that they make plans to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible, as full vaccination means at least 2 weeks after the final dose in either a 2 dose vaccine series (Pfizer or Moderna) or a single dose series (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen), as well as the appropriate booster. In California, if you are not fully vaccinated by August 23, 2021 or if you qualify for a religious or medical exemption you will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test result within the previous 48 hrs. of your visit. On October 1, a negative COVID-19 test result will only be available for those who qualify for a religious or medical exemption, across all Kaiser Permanente markets.
What happens if my employee lost their vaccination card?
Your employee can retrieve a copy of your immunization from your health provider immunization record or your state immunization registry. Please note, this may take some time. If you are unable to submit proof of full vaccination you will be considered “unvaccinated” and will need to follow COVID-19 testing procedures.
What do I do for employees who qualify for a valid medical or religious exemption?
Employees who qualify for a religious or medical exemption should sign a legal declination and provide supporting documentation to their employer to support their declination. These employees will also be asked to show proof of negative COVID-19 test results taken within the previous 48 hours to enter a KP facility and complete our attestation process.
What types of COVID test are accepted? Can I take a rapid test?
COVID-19 tests must be FDA approved and date/time stamped to show that it was taken within the previous 48 hours upon entry to a KP facility.
When are employees considered “booster eligible”?
Covered health care workers are considered booster eligible as follows:
- Employees who received their primary vaccination with either Moderna or Pfizer are booster eligible 6 months after full vaccination.
- Employees who received their primary vaccination with the 1-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are booster eligible 2 months after the first vaccination.
Who needs to be tested?
California-based vendor representatives who have not provided proof of full vaccination by an FDA- or WHO-approved vaccine, or who are eligible for a booster vaccination but have not yet received one, must provide a negative COVID-19 test to enter a KP facility.
- Vendor representatives who work in an acute care setting (including general acute care hospitals, skilled and intermediate care facilities) are required to test twice weekly. They should wait at least 48 hours after the first test of the week before obtaining the second test, ideally three or four days after the first test. The results of the first test should be available before the second test is obtained.
- Vendor representatives who work in a non-acute care setting (including ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient clinics, dental, dialysis, hospice, home health, substance abuse, and mental health facilities) are required to test once weekly.
- In addition, California-based vendor representatives who have obtained an approved medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement who work in covered medical settings are required to test.
- Markets outside of California will begin testing requirements if local or state orders apply to the workforce.
Fully vaccinated vendor representatives should be provided ONE “vendor confirmation sticker,” click to view requirements, which will provide them entry into a KP facility.