Making Influenza Vaccinations Convenient for Healthcare Personnel

A group of personnel at a veterans administration medical center (VAMC)) did a drive-thru to help bolster vaccination amongst coworkers.

Typically, healthcare workers (HCW) have higher vaccination rates than the general public.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 80% of healthcare workers reported receiving influenza vaccinations for the 2019-2020 season, and coverage was reported to be similar the year before.

Still some challenges remain to getting more HCW in for their vaccinations. To begin with, the COVID-19 pandemic created another unforeseen barrier last year.

When asked if her colleagues are getting vaccinated, Lisa C. Bailey, RN, MS, infection control preventionist at the Northport, NY VAMC, says many of them state time constraints and a lack of convenience as reasons for delaying or not getting vaccinated.

In 2019, Bailey and some of her colleagues implemented a fixed external drive thru point of distribution (POD) vaccination drive. They set it up in the parking lot of their center. For 2020, they had COVID-19 protocols to consider. They had 10 tables with 19 nurses administering vaccines. Masking was enforced for employees receiving the vaccine, and the nurses wore face shields to ensure protection. Employees were able to get their vaccines while remaining in their cars. They collected consent/declination forms to track vaccinations.

Bailey and her colleagues recently presented a poster with the data from the vaccine drive at the 2021 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology conference virtual sessions.

They deemed it a success as they saw improvement in the numbers from 2019 to 2020. They were able to administer the flu vaccine to 385 employees over a 90 -minute interval at a rate of 427 doses per 100 minutes in 2020. And this is compared to 290 employees getting vaccinated and 322 doses administered per 100 minutes in 2019.

Contagion spoke to Bailey recently about their vaccination drive-thru, some takeaways for others considering vaccination drives, and what they are planning for this year.