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