Successful campaigns for vaccinating HCWs

1. Sending a letter, postcard or e-mail to employees prior to the start of the vaccine season, reminding them of the importance of vaccination, and where and when they will be able to get the flu vaccine.

2. Writing something in the employee newsletter or posting information on staff bulletin boards and providing fact sheets with pay stubs to dispel misconceptions and increase acceptance.

3. Increasing the number of sites where the vaccine is given. Use mobile carts to transport to different clinic areas, service meetings, grand rounds or near cafeteria entrances. This approach can minimize inconvenience as well as provide a means to advertise the vaccine availability.

4. Carts should be stocked with vaccine, safety syringes, vaccine information statements, sharps disposal containers, alcohol hand rub, alcohol wipes, adhesive bandages, documentation forms, and injectable epinephrine with orders for administration in the event of an acute hypersensitivity reaction.

5. Making appointments with services to attend service meetings. A schedule should be posted or e-mail sent to those in the service announcing that the vaccine is available at the staff meeting.

6. If your occupational health unit has a web site, adding information to the web site regarding flu shot locations and times.

7. In late November identifying employees not yet vaccinated and reminding them by e-mail or a phone call that the flu vaccine is available.

8. Working closely with the pharmacy to get your supply of vaccine for employees.

9. Modifying education materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and elsewhere to address risks to employees if they are not vaccinated.

10. Encouraging the facility director, service chiefs, and other managers to lead the way by getting their vaccine and encouraging their staff to get vaccinated.

11. Giving out buttons or stickers to all staff who are vaccinated showing that they have been vaccinated. It is an additional advertising strategy for both employees and patients to be vaccinated against influenza.

12. Sponsoring a kick-off event.

13. Adding an influenza reminder to occupational health's telephone recording. When employees call they can automatically be reminded about the availability of the vaccine. If the recording capacity exists, add specific information regarding dates, times, and locations for flu shots, as well as any other pertinent information. These reminders should begin Sept. 15 and conclude after the flu season has peaked, which usually occurs in February or March.

14. Extending hours that the vaccine is available to staff to include all shifts and days of the week. Plans must be made to have additional staff available during the extended hours of the clinic or available during off hours.

If there is a vaccine shortage, using additional strategies if necessary to ensure those who are identified as needing the vaccine are targeted. If the shortage resolves, there also should be a mechanism in place to remind those not vaccinated that it is not too late to get the vaccine.

Source: Veterans Health Administration, Washington, DC; 2006.