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Linking Emergency Preparedness and Health Care Worker Vaccination Against Influenza: A Novel Approach

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Background: Health care workers (HCWs) can acquire and transmit influenza to their patients and coworkers, even while asymptomatic. The U.S. Healthy People 2010 initiative set a national goal of 60% coverage for HCW influenza vaccination by 2010. Yet vaccination rates remain low. In the 2008–2009 influenza season, Flushing Hospital Medical Center (FHMC; New York) adopted a "push/pull" point-of-dispensing (POD) vaccination model that was derived from emergency preparedness planning for mass vaccination and/or prophylaxis to respond to an infectious disease outbreak, whether occurring naturally or due to bioterrorism.

Launch of the HCW Vaccination Program: In mid-September 2008, a two-week HCW vaccination program was launched using a sequential POD approach. In Push POD, teams assigned to specific patient units educated all HCWs about influenza vaccination and offered on-site vaccination; vaccinated HCWs received a 2009 identification (ID) validation sticker. In Pull POD, HCWs could enter the hospital only through one entrance; all other employee entrances were "locked down." A 2009 ID validation sticker was required for entry and to punch in for duty. Employees without the new validation sticker were directed to a nearby vaccination team. After the Push/Pull POD was completed, the employee vaccination drive at FHMC was continued for the remainder of the influenza season by the Employee Health Service.

Results: Using this model, in two days 72% of the employees were reached, with 54% of those reached accepting vaccination.

Conclusions: This model provides a novel approach for institutions to improve their HCW influenza vaccination rates within a limited period through exercising emergency preparedness plans for infectious disease outbreaks.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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