Setting up a Worker Healthcare Vaccination Program in Australia
Health care workers are exposed to the influenza virus more than anyone else throughout the year. They can easily get infected from patients admitted in health care facilities with the illness. Nearly 10-25% of Australians get affected with the virus and unvaccinated health workers catch them unknowingly.
Scratchy throat, achy muscles and slight temperatures are the general symptoms of influenza. It is very common for people to work with all these symptoms without even knowing that they are actually spreading the disease.
Organising a staff influenza vaccination program in the workplace will not only protect the workers from the disease but also prevent spreading it. A proper combination of right education, practical approach and support from the organisation is the key to a successful vaccination program.
Vaccination programs in Western Australia
The Child and Adolescent Health Service and the Women’s and Newborn Health Service in Western Australia provides annual employee influenza vaccination program before the winter season. The Infection Control Department organises and administers influenza vaccination programs for all its employees and volunteers.
How to promote vaccination programs
- Studies suggest that when vaccine is available for free to health workers, the uptake increases significantly.
- It is very effective to approach the workers through the mobile vaccination service during their meal breaks and shift changeovers.
- The hospital administrators, head of departments and managers can promote the culture of immunisation by encouraging staff vaccination in their areas.
- Informing the staff about the organisation’s Public Relations Department through newsletters can also keep them up to date about the programs.
- Promote vaccination education among the workers through Pharmaceutical representative assistance during their meal breaks.
- Educational campaign in staff communal areas will make them aware of the need for vaccination.
- Distributing information sheets that contain details about vaccine effectiveness, the complications of influenza infection and other information can drive them towards immunisation.
Barriers of vaccination programs
- It is very important for the staffs to have the proper knowledge about vaccination as they can spread misconceptions about the vaccine.
- Information on the vaccine should focus on its effectiveness in reducing the risk of further outbreak. It is important for the workers to have proper knowledge about the difference between common cold and influenza as many people tend to combine both the terms.
- One of the main reasons for refusal of vaccination are its related side effects.
- Many people often tend to resist vaccination because of their own personal interpretation. It is necessary to have proper knowledge about the vaccine.
- The healthcare officials should be reminded of the fact that they are responsible for the health of the patient and protect the patients from infecting them with influenza virus.