Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Opportunistic influenza vaccination in the home: broadening access in isolated times

Background

Influenza is a vaccine-preventable infection that causes serious illness. The mandate to prevent an influenza epidemic has increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, isolation restrictions have reduced interactions with healthcare professionals. We aimed to determine whether these barriers could be overcome by offering vaccination via an ambulatory setting for the first time.

Methods

During a 12-week period, patients receiving care through the Hospital-in-the-Home programme were offered immunisation during their home visit. Logistical cold chain barriers were addressed, and patient acceptance was measured.

Results

Cooler boxes with temperature loggers were designed to monitor the cold chain. 157 eligible patients were contacted, of whom 96 (61%) consented and received in-home injectable influenza vaccine, with no major adverse events. 52/96 (54%) were first-time influenza vaccine recipients. Most refusals (28/41, 68%) were for immunisation concerns, not home administration.

Conclusion

This pilot shows ambulatory influenza vaccination is feasible, safe and overcomes some barriers.

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