Purpose: To enhance influenza vaccination rates for high-risk outpatients at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, an institution-wide immunization program was implemented during 1987.
Patients and methods: The program consisted of: (1) a hospital policy allowing nurses to vaccinate without a signed physician's order; (2) stamped reminders on all clinic progress notes; (3) a 2-week walk-in flu shot clinic; (4) influenza vaccination "stations" in the busiest clinic areas; and (5) a mailing to all outpatients. Risk characteristics and vaccination rates for patients were estimated from a validated self-administered postcard questionnaire mailed to 500 randomly selected outpatients. For comparison, 500 patients were surveyed from each of three other Midwestern VAMCs without similar programs.
Results: Overall, 70.6% of Minneapolis patients were high-risk and 58.3% of them were vaccinated. In contrast, 69.9% of patients at the comparison medical centers were high-risk, but only 29.9% of them were vaccinated.
Conclusion: The Minneapolis VAMC influenza vaccination program was highly successful and may serve as a useful model for achieving the national health objective for influenza immunization.