Yesterday we conducted our second annual influenza vaccination clinic here at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. By offering the clinic here, during work hours, and for free, we are hoping to reduce as many barriers to vaccination as possible, such as the trip to the doctor or the pharmacy, needing one’s insurance card, inertia. Of course we are also hoping to keep staffers, their families and friends, and building visitors healthy, too!
We partnered with a local RiteAid pharmacy to give the vaccine, and to provide an incentive, we gave a $10 Trader Joe’s gift card to anyone who got the vaccine.
The first year I began tracking uptake of influenza vaccine here (2012) only 43% of full-time staff took the vaccine. In 2013, I conducted a brief influenza vaccination awareness campaign and about 70% staffers took the vaccine. Last year, after offering the vaccine here in the building, we were up to 86%, or 38 of 44, vaccinated staffers, including those who’d been vaccinated elsewhere.
At the the clinic yesterday 36 (including me) took the vaccine. As with the previous year, several people mentioned that they’d never had the vaccine before. It’s too early to tell what our final coverage will be – it’s still early in the season. I’m sure that several people will take the vaccine elsewhere, and I’ll do a follow up survey in February to find out how many people ended up getting vaccinated.
Of course, we are all hoping that the flu vaccine will provide better protection this year than last, when vaccine effectiveness against the circulating influenza A H3N2 strain was only about 18%, and 45% against circulating influenza B viruses (CDC, 2015). Tom Frieden, MD, director of the CDC, held a media briefing on September 17 and said that he expected better vaccine effectiveness this season and that the H3N2 vaccine component has been updated to more closely match what is expected to be circulating (Ault, 2015).
Ault, A. Flu vaccine a closer match, time to get vaccinated, CDC says. Medscape Medical News, Sept. 17, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/851181
CDC. CDC presents updated estimates of flu vaccine effectiveness for te 2014-2015 season. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/news/updated-vaccine-effectiveness-2014-15.htm