Based on their experiences in setting up COVID-19 vaccination programs for employees, researchers from two major medical centers have developed a set of best practices for rapid vaccine administration, reported in a special "fast track" article in the August Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
"Successful, safe, and rapid delivery of more than 60,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in three months is practical and scalable," according to the paper by Judith Green-McKenzie, MD, MPH, and colleagues of University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, and Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore.
Teams at Penn and Johns Hopkins analyze and compare their experiences in planning and implementation of large-scale vaccination programs for health system employees. At both institutions, advisory committees held initial meetings within a month before COVID-19 vaccine became available in December 2020.
The varied and complex issues addressed by the planning committees included training and continuing education, clinic workflow and supplies, consent processes, staffing and clinic hours, post-vaccination monitoring, and information technology. The authors identify key hurdles to implementation, including vaccine allocation principles, vaccine equity and access, vaccine hesitancy, medical and religious exemptions, and budgeting.
Within the first three months, clinics at both institutions administered approximately 30,000 vaccine doses. Seventy percent of employees were vaccinated within four months, and more than 95% by institutional vaccine mandate deadlines. There were no cases of vaccine-related death or disability and a very low rate of separation due to non-compliance.
The researchers present a set of best practices in planning and implementing vaccination programs, with guiding principles including strong leadership, multidisciplinary collaboration with major stakeholders, and frequent, succinct, and effective communications. The best practices were applied in developing a financial readiness plan to rapidly administer a replicable, scalable model for pandemic preparedness.
In the model, the estimated cost of delivering a COVID-19 vaccine to an employee was $29.95, compared to $35 to $39 per dose for vaccination at retail pharmacies. Dr. Green McKenzie and coauthors conclude: "The success of future, large-scale vaccine clinics can be enhanced by utilizing best practices, which can be used as a blueprint in the event of a pandemic/outbreak and added to a health system emergency management plan."
About the Author
Dr. Green-McKenzie is a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine where she was the inaugural OEM Division Chief & OEM Residency Director for over two decades. She was also Professor (PAR) of Medicine and Division Director for OEM at Johns Hopkins (JH) Medicine & Executive Director for Health, Safety and Environment for JH University & Health System. She may be contacted for interviews at Judith.email@example.com
), an international society of 4,000 occupational physicians and other health care professionals, provides leadership to promote optimal health and safety of workers, workplaces, and environments.
About the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (www.joem.org
) is the official journal of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Edited to serve as a guide for physicians, nurses, and researchers, the clinically oriented research articles are an excellent source for new ideas, concepts, techniques, and procedures that can be readily applied in the industrial or commercial employment setting.