Don't overlook the value of fun, prizes, and food!
- Sponsor a contest to create a slogan for your facility's immunization effort.
- Throw a kickoff party that includes food and prizes along with the vaccinations.
Healthcare workers are at risk for exposure to serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. The CDC recommends that healthcare workers get several vaccines to protect their own health as well as that of their families and patients.
The frequency of these recommended vaccines varies, but given that influenza is both very common and occurs in a predictable pattern every year, it is important to implement annual campaigns for vaccinating healthcare workers against the flu.
Consider these evidence-based strategies to increase staff vaccination rates:
- Attend immunization planning meetings
- Receive their vaccinations first, in order to set a highly visible example
- Monitor vaccination coverage and declination on a unit-by-unit basis and regularly publish those results
- Include staff immunization as a measure in the facility's overall quality and safety program
Identify and Address Staff Concerns
Through surveys, suggestion boxes, or one-on-one conversations, determine the reasons why some staff are reluctant to be vaccinated. For example:
- If staff feel they can't fit it into their schedule, provide the vaccinations on site.
- If staff don't think it is important, promote messages about protecting their vulnerable patients.
- If staff don't think the vaccination is effective, provide education to the contrary.
Mandatory Immunization Policies
- Employees requesting an exemption due to religious or medical needs are required to wear surgical masks for the duration of flu season.
- Workers not immunized are referred to supervisors for follow-up reminders; any staff not vaccinated by the deadline are subject to termination.
- Employees are required to read educational materials about immunization, provided via such modes as:
- The facility's intranet or internal newsletter
- Informational kiosks or bulletin boards
- During departmental meetings
- Provide free vaccinations onsite; consider using a mobile vaccination cart to make rounds to each department (Consider this an opportunity to review best practices for injections)
- Offer at varied times, days, shifts
- Use peer vaccinators
- Identify "champions" among the staff to speak with co-workers, one-on-one, about the benefits of immunization
Need more help?
The Protect Yourself, Protect Your Patients toolkit includes resources for planning, marketing, and carrying out an immunization campaign for healthcare workers. The CDC has also developed a toolkit specifically designed for staff of long-term care facilities.
Another way to help prevent the spread of flu is to emphasize hand hygiene. Qualis Health has developed a Hand Hygiene Huddle to help engage patients and families in this important, but easily overlooked, strategy.