Flu season is rapidly approaching, and we know that healthcare organizations are gearing up for vaccine clinics. This season, with additional spikes in RSV and COVID-19 expected, organizations are wondering how they can keep both patients and employees safe and healthy from multiple respiratory viruses. Here are the steps you should take to plan a successful vaccine clinic.
1. Define the clinic’s purpose.
The planning process for your vaccine clinic starts with defining the clinic’s purpose. Determine who the clinic will serve. Will it be a one-day event for your organization to offer vaccines for internal employees, or a walk-in clinic to vaccinate the general local population? Other factors for planning a vaccine clinic will largely depend on the overall purpose. Once this has been established, you can begin to work on clinic logistics such as selecting a location, ordering supplies, working with partners, and hiring staff.
2. Establish a timeline.
Different geographic areas can see peak infection levels at different times of the year. This is important to note when establishing a timeline for vaccine clinics. Flu season in the United States is typically at its height between December and February, but usually starts as early as October. Other respiratory viruses such as RSV and COVID-19 have also been known to spread during flu season. To keep as many people as healthy as possible, vaccines should be administered throughout the fall and winter months, and organizations should adjust as needed depending on location and population.
3. Assess and select a location.
Depending on who the clinic serves, location can vary. Clinics supporting employers offering vaccines to employees will most likely be held on company property, or properties, and clinic staff may need to travel from location to location. Logistics can be tricky, and extra staff may be necessary for moving, setting up, and tearing down vaccine locations. Other types of clinics that serve the general public take a bit more consideration. Clinics can be indoor or outdoor depending on the weather in the area. They can also be a walk-in or a drive-through.
When selecting a location, it’s important to think about the overall flow of your clinic. Different rooms or areas are necessary for each step in the vaccine process. Each vaccine clinic location should have at least three areas: one for registration, another for vaccine administration, and a third for post-vaccination observation. These areas can be open or in separate rooms.
4. Utilize partnerships to better serve the public.
Organizations seeking to provide vaccines to the public can partner with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporations to determine who is in dire need of vaccines. They can help identify underserved areas, provide vaccine management strategies, and assist in budget and coordination efforts. These organizations can also help coordinate signups and get the word out to the public about vaccination clinics in the area. In addition, there are many opportunities for partnering with government facilities or non-profit organizations to utilize their spaces for vaccine clinics. Schools and churches, for example, are great spaces that provide easy access for the public.
5. Determine staff needed.
Once purpose, timeline, location, and partnerships are in place, it’s time to determine staffing needs. How many vaccines do you project to administer? Over what period of time? And what amount of temporary staff does this require? Vaccine clinics use a variety of staff to oversee, coordinate, and administer vaccinations to patients. These tasks include but are not limited to:
- Appointment scheduling
- Patient greeting, registration, and screening
- Interpretation for non-English speaking patients
- Clinic operations
- Supply management
- IT support
- Vaccine management
- Preparing and administering vaccines
- Post-vaccine observation
- Emergency medical services
- Vaccine reporting to government and health officials
6. Work with a healthcare staffing agency.
Staffing agencies like Medix are your best resource to plan a vaccine clinic, as we partner with you to hire local, flexible professionals who can quickly step in and ensure your clinic is a success. The healthcare professionals we provide, such as LPNs, LVNs, and medical assistants, are thoroughly vetted and experienced in providing vaccines in a clinic environment, as are the administrative and operations professionals in running the day-to-day of a flu clinic. Working with us to provide temporary staff to run your clinic is often the most cost-effective approach, as it allows your full-time staff to remain focused on their important day-to-day responsibilities.
Vaccine clinics have lots of moving parts and a strict deadline looming. Careful, step-by-step planning and partnering with Medix throughout the process can ensure a successful clinic—and a healthy group of employees and patients.