Ramping up a Local Immunisation Program in Response to Outbreaks and National Standard 3.6

Sue Gonelli 1, Maureen Canning 1, Nicole Elms 1, Catherine Forster 1, Kim Heriot 1, Susan Thorpe 1

Peninsula Health, Hastings, VIC, Australia


From 2014 – January 2015 Peninsula Health had 11 vaccine preventable exposures related to non-immune healthcare workers (HCW) in high risk areas. 2 large exposures in Maternity, Special Care Nursery and Paediatrics in late 2014 triggered an overhaul of our immunisation program with a mandate from the CEO that all new HCWs must have documented immunity before approval for commencement. Previous policy relied on a voluntary commitment from new staff to provide required immunisation evidence at their own expense. Compliance rates were low with no consequences as a result.

Consultation process with Executive Management oversight and Human Relations (HR) was established. Following strategies were introduced:
• Strengthened HR policy
• Alignment for all recruitment processes as a preferred Immunisation organisation
• Pre-approval process through the Employee Exposure Management & Immunisation Service (EEMIS)
• Funded clinic resources
• Development of database with future links to HR and Online reporting
• Communication strategy
• Email alerts to all new staff
• Monthly non-compliance reports to Executive Management and Managers for action
• HR and Executive review of contracts

Initial compliance in new staff employed from May 2013 – May 2015 was 50%. Compliance improved to 99% for new employees to meet accreditation in November 2015.

This has been a very successful strategy with Executive support and strong Manager engagement to ensure staff meet the requirements. A 5 year plan has been established for a catch up program for all existing staff with current focus on high risk areas.

About the College

The ACIPC is the peak body for Infection Prevention and Control professionals in the Australasian region. Our stated vision is the prevention and control of infection in our communities. We commenced in January 2012 bringing together the various State and Territory infection control associations formerly in AICA (The Australian Infection Control Association) to support and encourage collaboration across Australasia.

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