Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 2:30 PM

Flu Shots for Health Care Providers a Strategy That Works

Mary Koslap-Petraco and Linda Mermelstein. Patient Care Division, Suffolk County Department of Health Services, Kellum Education Center, 887 Kellum Street, Lindenhurst, NY, USA

Health care providers have historically had low rates for influenza vaccinations. Suffolk County Department of Health Services primary care centers had influenza immunization rates that were below the national average of 30%. These low compliance rates for health care providers put high risk patients in danger of contracting influenza as well as the health care providers themselves. Health care providers historically harbor many misconceptions regarding perceived side effects of the vaccine. The Institute of Medicine recently published its findings on the safety of influenza vaccine which was useful in an educational program to promote influenza immunizations among health care providers.

Develop a strategy to improve the immunization rates for health care providers in a large suburban primary health center system utilizing both an educational program and a specific plan to provide the influenza immunizations.

Data on the number of health care providers who recieved influenza immunizations were compiled for the year before the intervention was instituted and the for the year the intervention was implemented. The data from the 2 successive years was compared.

Influenza immunization rates among health care providers went from 20% to 60% in one year.

Focusing on a specific time for health care provider influenza immunizations improved compliance. Educational interventions can be successful and solutions do not have to be expensive. Simple, well thought out solutions can often work the best.

Identify a simple, easy to implement method to improve influenza immunization rates among health care providers. Identify components of an educational program which will alleviate misconceptions regarding influenza vaccine among health care providers.