What Every Provider Should Know
Other Vaccination Considerations of Healthcare Workers
Other important considerations for healthcare workers include maintenance of complete immunization records, policies for catch-up vaccination of healthcare workers, work restrictions for susceptible employees who are exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases, and control of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in healthcare settings. Additional vaccines not routinely recommended for healthcare workers in the U.S. may be indicated for those who travel to other regions of the world, such as medical volunteers in humanitarian efforts.
An immunization record should be maintained for eveyone, including healthcare worker. The record should reflect documented disease and vaccination histories as well as immunizing agents administered during employment. At each immunization encounter, the record should be updated and the healthcare worker encouraged to maintain the record.
Florida has a statewide, computerized immunization registry, the Florida SHOTS™ (State Health Online Tracking System), and vaccination records for County Health Department (CHD) clients are available (to authorized system users only) through a central database. The registry also includes immunization records from private physicians. Healthcare providers who are authorized registry users may access immunization records for any vaccine previously administered in the state, if entered in the Florida SHOTS™.
Catch-Up Vaccination Programs
Healthcare facility managers should consider implementing catch-up vaccination programs for healthcare workers who are already employed, in addition to policies to ensure newly-hired healthcare workers receive necessary vaccinations. This strategy will help prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Education enhances the success of many immunization programs. Reference materials should be available to assist in answering questions regarding the diseases and vaccines, and the program or policy being implemented. Conducting educational workshops or seminars several weeks before the initiation of the program may be necessary to ensure acceptance of program goals.
Work Restrictions for Susceptible Workers After Exposure
Postexposure work restrictions ranging from restriction of contact with high-risk patients to complete exclusion from duty are appropriate for healthcare workers who are not immune to certain vaccine-preventable diseases. Recommendations concerning work restrictions in these circumstances have been published*.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities should develop comprehensive policies and protocols for management and control of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases may be costly, disruptive and life threatening to certain patients. Outbreak prevention, is ensuring all healthcare workers are fully immunized, is the most successful and cost-effective control strategy. Disease-specific outbreak control measures are described in published recommendations and infection control references by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)*.