Guidance on the delivery of influenza vaccine during COVID-19
September 8, 2020
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To: Local health system partners
FOR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION
Reducing the burden of influenza is particularly important this fall and winter to prevent an increase in health care utilization alongside of a potential resurgence of COVID-19 activity. In its seasonal influenza vaccine statement for 2020-2021, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) advises that priority should be given to providing influenza vaccine to persons at high risk of influenza complications and those capable of transmitting infection to them. https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/publications/healthy-living/canadian-immunization-guide-statement-seasonal-influenza-vaccine-2020-2021/naci-2020-2021-seasonal-influenza-stmt-eng.pdf
I am sending you this Advisory Alert to share key recommendations from a recent document entitled Guidance for Influenza Vaccine Delivery in the Presence of COVID-19, developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada in consultation with the Canadian Immunization Committee and NACI. Below are recommendations for planning your fall influenza vaccination clinics and services. For more ideas, I encourage you to review the full document: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/immunization/national-advisory-committee-on-immunization-naci/guidance-influenza-vaccine-delivery-covid-19.html
This fall, please consider immunization strategies that maximize vaccine uptake while safeguarding the health of your patients, your staff, and yourself.
Consider a range of strategies to deliver influenza vaccine with the goals of:
- maintaining physical distancing
- reducing pre-immunization wait times
- reducing the mixing of well and ill individuals
- building efficiencies into immunization services (i.e. asking clients to wear accessible clothing, limiting the number of support persons attending or waiting with patients and having a designated clinic entrance and exit [if possible] to maximize traffic flow)
- having separate areas for people to wait post-vaccination (preferably close to the exit)
Ensure the following infection prevention and control practices are implemented in your delivery setting:
- passive and active COVID-19 screening for staff, volunteers, and patients
- use of face coverings for patients and others presenting for service (as appropriate)
- availability of alcohol based hand rub for clients and staff at strategic locations throughout the setting (i.e., at entry and exit points and in all immunization areas)
- promotion of respiratory etiquette among staff and patients
- use of personal protective equipment (PPE) including surgical or medical mask and eye protection for vaccine administration and glove use, based on risk assessment
- cleaning and disinfecting of immunization stations and areas between patients
- increased environmental cleaning (of all clinical areas, reception areas, and washrooms)
This year, the demand for influenza vaccine may be higher than usual and may start earlier in the season. In anticipation of this, please also consider your patient communication strategies. Knowing when and how to expect vaccine services and understanding the measures you are taking to ensure their safety may deflate patient fears and reduce the number of calls to your office. This can be done through voice recordings or phone calls, advance email or text messaging, and your website and social media platforms.
You will be receiving your influenza vaccine order form in the coming weeks as we learn of our vaccine allotment from the Ministry of Health. In the meantime, please contact the Immunization Program at 705.522.9200, ext. 458 with any questions you may have.
Original Signed By
Dr. Penny Sutcliffe
Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer
NOTE: All Advisory Alerts are found on our website.
This item was last modified on September 8, 2020