Examples For Flu Vaccination Solutions

The most common causes of inadequate flu vaccination rates have been successfully addressed in certain underserved communities nationwide. The following chart shows several potential causes for flu vaccination gaps and respective proposed solutions.

Limited knowledge about the flu and vaccination on the part of clinicians
  • Provide access to web-based resources
  • Host an annual clinic presentation or grand round
Lack of strong recommendation by the clinical team to patients
  • Train all team members to strongly recommend flu vaccination, from the front desk, to the waiting room, to the exam room, and at discharge
Difficulty obtaining patient data on flu vaccination rates
  • Work with IT or Quality Improvement (QI) staff to compile a report on flu vaccination rates
  • Systematically select patient charts to manually calculate vaccination rates
Missing flu vaccination data in medical records
  • Train staff on consistent data entry
Cultural sensitivities among the local population
  • Use health literacy and language-appropriate patient education materials
  • Train medical assistants and front-line staff to encourage flu vaccination
  • Train community leaders about the benefits of flu vaccination and provide educational materials
Patient hesitancy due to lack of information or fear
  • Provide appropriate patient education materials in the form of posters, hand-outs, or video clips in the waiting room
  • Train all clinic staff in answering common questions

Flu vaccination recommendation from providers

Research shows that patients trust their doctors and nurses. As such, a strong recommendation for flu vaccination from the patient’s medical team is an effective way to increase rates. Flu vaccination rates increase 41% among patients whose doctor recommends the vaccine compared to those whose doctor does not make a recommendation.

A culture of vaccination extends from the front desk to the physician. It is essential for clinicians and their staff to know the right communication strategies to make strong recommendations for flu vaccination for their patients.

Addressing flu vaccination myths and objections

Flu vaccination myths are common, and dispelling them can be a challenge. The following common objections and responses are designed to help providers address these difficult conversations.

“The flu shot will give me the flu.”

It’s impossible to get the flu from the flu shot. It is made with viruses that are not infectious or with no viruses at all. You can get the flu from someone else.

“I’ve never had the flu.”

Every year, up to 20% of Americans get the flu—that’s up to 60 million people—many of whom have not had the flu before.

“I’m healthy; I don’t need a shot.”

Every year, healthy people get sick from the flu, and some even die. Many people have underlying conditions they are not aware of. Even with a mild case, it is still possible for the patient to be a carrier and pass it along to others.

“The flu shot doesn’t work.”

Effectiveness varies from season to season and between flu strains. Vaccine effectiveness is not just measured by the percentage of disease prevented but more importantly, by the myriad of negative outcomes that vaccination helps prevent even if you catch the flu, such as hospitalization and diminished quality of life (disability).

Ultimately, it’s important for patients to understand that the flu is a serious, potentially deadly disease, and that going without vaccination can be risky even if the patient is considerably healthy.

For more insight into myths and misconceptions expressed by patients, visit the American Academy of Family Physicians article here: Survey Reveals Common Misconceptions About Flu, Vaccination: Article detailing myths & misconceptions about the flu vaccine

Solutions Worksheet

The following worksheet can be utilized to capture the causes and solutions for common flu vaccination issues.

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