Immunizations: Protect Yourself, Protect Your Patients
A toolkit to promote influenza & Tdap immunization among healthcare workers.
This toolkit is designed to help health care organizations promote influenza and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) immunization for their employees. It was developed with the belief that it is the professional and ethical responsibility of health care workers to prevent the spread of infectious pathogens to the populations they serve by receiving recommended immunizations. When you are ready to start working on your immunization campaign, you will find tools here to help you do so.
“Since we began offering no cost flu vaccinations to all our employees, there has been an increase in the number of staff members who have chosen to be vaccinated and the number of staff sick days has decreased. I strongly recommend offering no cost influenza vaccines to your healthcare employees.”
-Connie Kline, RN, nursing supervisor at Northwest Pediatrics Center in Centralia and Chehalis
- » Make The Case
- » Plan Your Program
- » Educate Your Employees
- » Promote Your Campaign
- » Provide Vaccine
- » Measure Success
- » Selected Resources
Make The Case
Many trusted national organizations have spoken out in support of immunizing health care workers, and research shows that it is both cost-effective and health-protective. Fully-vaccinated health care workers serve as key players in stopping the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases and also protect themselves from unnecessary illness.
Statements and Position Papers
- National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Call to Action: Influenza Immunization Among Health Care Personnel (pdf)
- Association for Professionals in Infection Control (APIC) Position Paper: Influenza Vaccination Should be a Condition of Employment for Healthcare Personnel, Unless Medically Contraindicated (pdf)
- American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement: Recommendation for Mandatory Influenza Immunization of All Health Care Personnel pdf)
- Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) Policy on Mandatory Immunization of Health Care Workers Against Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza (pdf)
- Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) Revised Position Paper: Influenza Vaccination of Healthcare Personnel (pdf)
- Vaccinating Healthcare Workers Against Influenza to Protect the Vulnerable—Is it a Good Use of Healthcare Resources? (pdf)
- Use of models to identify cost-effective interventions: pertussis vaccination for pediatric health care workers
- Read more articles about Health Care Worker immunizations at the National Immunization Action Coalition
Plan Your Program
These resources will help you identify the steps you need to take to raise employee immunization rates in your facility. Below you will find planning calendars and checklists and sample immunization policies.
- The Joint Commission: Tdap Vaccination Strategies for Adolescents and Adults, Including Health Care Personnel (includes information about Tdap among health care workers, strategies for implementing a Tdap immunization program including research and examples)
- NFID—Improving Influenza Vaccination Rates in Health Care Workers: Strategies to Increase Protection for Workers & Patients (pdf) (includes rationale, selected strategies)
- NFID – Immunizing Healthcare Personnel Against Influenza: A Report of Best Practices (pdf) (includes case studies of successful models)
- American Nurses Association Influenza Toolkit “Bringing Immunity to Every Community” for health care providers (pdf)* (includes videos, PSAs, poster, and more)
- APIC – Protect Yourself, Protect Your Patients Toolkit (includes checklist, sample newsletter and email content, and sample declination form)
- Washington State Hospital Association – Healthcare Worker Flu Immunization (includes model policy, declination and accommodation forms, employee education module, and sample newsletter and dear health care worker letter)
Educate Your Employees
The CDC recommends that health care workers provide proven immunity to the following diseases: Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap vaccine); Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR vaccine); Hepatitis B; Varicella (chicken pox); and the seasonal Influenza vaccine. The recommendations apply to all staff in medical and dental offices, long term care facilities and daycare centers, regardless of whether they have direct client contact. It also applies to all students, volunteers, and contract workers working in these settings. However, many health care workers do not know their immunity status. The following resources explain and summarize recommendations from the CDC and ACIP (the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices).
Promote Your Campaign
Encourage participation in your immunization campaign with posters, brochures, and other promotional materials found below. Many organizations have found it helpful to offer incentives to employees who receive recommended immunizations, such as gift cards or free snacks or beverages. Some foster friendly competition between teams or departments by offering prizes for those with the highest immunization rates or to those who meet specific goals.
Posters and Flyers
Employee Letters and Emails
- Sample Tdap Employee Email (WA epidemic)
Employee Newsletter Articles
Other Promotional Items
- Vaccine Manager (includes additional newsletter samples and more)
To increase the success of your campaign, vaccine should be available free of charge to employees during their regular work hours. If your organization is unable to provide vaccine on-site, consider allowing employees to get vaccinated off-site during their work hours rather than their personal time. The more convenient, affordable, and accessible vaccination is, the more successful your campaign will be.
If your organization is not equipped to provide vaccine to your employees, here is a list of providers who can do a mobile immunization clinic at your workplace.
The Joint Commission’s report “Tdap Vaccination Strategies for Adolescents and Adults, Including Health Care Personnel” recommends the following strategies for providing vaccine to health care workers:
- Provide vaccine free of charge.
- Offer vaccinations at multiple times and locations (including weekends) so that staff on all shifts have access.
- Promote “vaccine days” when vaccine is offered to all staff.
- Use mobile carts to make vaccinations convenient to all units and departments.
- Offer incentives to employees or teams who are vaccinated such as raffle prizes, buttons, pens, notepads, coupons for coffee or snacks, or gift certificates.
- Link vaccination to a required activity such as an annual TB test or mandatory safety training.
- If your facility does not have capacity to provide vaccine, reach out to your insurance carriers and local pharmacies.
It’s important to track the number of employees who receive the Tdap vaccine and the yearly influenza vaccine in order to measure the success of your campaign and be able to quickly identify unvaccinated employees during an outbreak. Employees who refuse immunization could be asked to sign a declination or exemption form. You may also find your organization’s electronic medical record system helpful for tracking employee immunizations.
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