VOL: 101, ISSUE: 48, PAGE NO: 45
Joyce Skeet, MSc, RGN, is practice nurse, Holbrook Surgery, Horsham, West SussexIt is essential to begin planning flu vaccine clinics in January to ensure that the process runs smoothly. The Department of Health has an influenza pandemic contingency plan so that all those involved are prepared in the event of this happening.
It is essential to begin planning flu vaccine clinics in January to ensure that the process runs smoothly. The Department of Health has an influenza pandemic contingency plan so that all those involved are prepared in the event of this happening.
To estimate the number of vaccines that a surgery will require it is necessary to check the guidelines published each year by the Department of Health - The Influenza Immunisation Programme - that detail who should be offered the influenza vaccination.
2006 Flu vaccination clinic planner
- Search on the computer for all patients eligible for a flu vaccination;
- Contact one or more drug company and agree the following:
- Price per vaccine; discount for a bulk order, and payment details;
- Delivery dates;
- Delivery of posters, leaflets and 'post-its' to advertise the flu vaccination campaign.
- Meet with key members of the team involved in flu clinics, including practice nurses, practice managers, general practitioners, district nurses and receptionists. Agree at this meeting:
- Dates and times of flu clinics;
- Number of patients to be included in each clinic;
- The role of the receptionist.
- Ensure a patient group direction for the influenza vaccine is in place and has been signed by nurses who will be administering the vaccine. The practice's senior partner should also sign it;
- Check all health professionals involved are familiar with the DoH 'Green Book' - Chapter 20: Influenza, and that the nurses administering the vaccines have been on an immunisation and anaphylaxis update in the previous 12 months.
- Check that the drug company has delivered posters, leaflets and 'post-its' as arranged;
- Organise 'post-its' to be put on all repeat prescriptions of at-risk patients;
- Put up posters in the surgery advertising dates and times of flu clinics;
- Ensure that those answering the telephone are aware of the criteria for vaccination.
- Take delivery of the vaccines; check batch numbers, expiry date and store correctly in a vaccine refrigerator at between 2 degsC and 8 degsC. The nurses should read the data sheet for the vaccine.
The flu clinic
- Prepare the treatment room;
- Check the anaphylaxis pack and the emergency trolley;
- Check that there is a GP on the premises;
- Give the patient an information leaflet about the vaccines;
- Check each patient's name and date of birth and whether the information leaflet has been read, then ask the following questions:
- Have you had a reaction to a flu vaccine?
- Are you unwell, or do you have a raised temperature?
- Are you allergic to eggs or egg products? (Influenza vaccine is grown on egg protein);
- Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
Patients who answer 'yes' to any of the above questions are advised not to have a flu vaccination and to see their GP.
It is important to check that patients have been given information about the risks and benefits of a flu immunisation to enable them to make a choice and give consent.
Provided the patient gives consent and has not answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, the nurse administers the flu vaccine, then gives the patient an information leaflet about what can happen after a vaccination.
Anaphylactic reactions are very rare but patients should be advised to wait for 10 minutes before leaving the surgery.
After the clinic
- Take a stock-take of the remaining vaccines;
- Seal sharps bins and dispose of them according to local policy;
- Record vaccine batch numbers, expiry date and site of injection on each patient's file.
If the planning for flu clinics has been done well, they will run smoothly. Targeting all at-risk groups by offering a flu vaccine can reduce patient morbidity and mortality.
- Patient Group Directions
- Influenza Immunisation Programme
- Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan
- Immunisation Against Infectious Disease 1996 - The Green Book
- Flu campaign resources
- Flu influenza fact sheet