Background: Influenza vaccine is recommended for all individuals ≥ 6 months of age. During the 2009-10 season, immunization rates in every age group remained below national targets. Influenza vaccine is routinely offered to hospitalized patients. Providing vaccine to their household contacts is one strategy that could increase overall immunization rates.
Setting: 257-bed tertiary care children’s hospital in Louisville, KY.
Population: Household contacts of hospitalized children.
Project Description: Between 10/15 – 11/30/2010, free influenza vaccine was offered to household contacts of all hospitalized children. Families were educated about the need for influenza vaccine at admission. Vaccine was offered at “flu stations” with designated hours and by roaming carts; some nursing units also maintained a supply of vaccine to immunize family members on demand.
Results/Lessons Learned: In total, 644 adult and child household contacts were immunized. A hospital admission is an opportunity to immunize both patients and their family members. The best way to protect infants < 6 months of age against influenza is to immunize their household contacts. Adult caregivers appreciate the convenience of a hospital-based immunization program and are motivated to be immunized in order to protect their children. Expansion of the program to family members of outpatients would be valuable.