Standards for Practice: Vaccine Administration & Referral
There are a number of steps you can take to improve vaccine administration in your office and better protect your patients from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Recommend and offer vaccines at the same visit. Research shows that when patients receive a vaccine recommendation and are offered the vaccine at the same time, they are more likely to get vaccinated.
For vaccines you don’t stock, REFER patients to a local immunization provider that can vaccinate.
There is an expanding network of immunization providers. For details, download this Vaccine Referral [2 pages] factsheet.
- Train and educate your staff on vaccine administration. Help improve vaccine delivery and ensure patient safety.
- Use standing orders or protocols (where allowed by state law) for vaccine administration. Authorizing nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals to assess patient vaccine status and administer needed vaccinations without examination or direct order from the attending provider can save time and reduce missed opportunities for vaccination.
- Properly store and handle vaccines. This critical step can reduce wastage. Review CDC recommendations and guidelines on vaccine storage and handling practices.
- Distribute Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) to patients. Help your patients make informed decisions about vaccinations.
- Ensure proper care for patients. Minimize potential risks to your patients by following safety protocols.
- Follow standard precautions to control infection. Minimize the risks of spreading disease when administering vaccines. Review the CDC Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Care.
Be aware of and prepared for potential adverse reactions. All vaccines have the potential to cause adverse reactions. Most are minor (e.g., itching, soreness) but severe reactions (e.g., anaphylaxis), while rare, can occur. Make sure you and your staff are prepared to handle severe reactions.
- Review IAC’s Chart of Medical Management of Vaccine Reactions in Adult Patients Procedures [2 pages].
- Report any adverse events that occur following vaccination to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).
Download the Vaccine Administration [2 pages] factsheet.
- CME course from the American Medical Association: Adult Vaccinations and Team-Based Immunization
- IAC Tool: Immunization Skills Self-Assessment [2 pages]
- IAC Dose and Route Chart [1 page]: Dose, route, injection site, and needle size information for all adult vaccines