Increasing Flu Vaccination and Addressing Vaccine Confidence
October 7, 2021 | 3 min. to read
As the flu season approaches and COVID-19 cases remain active in Chicagoland, it is important to encourage patients, as well as members of the NM workforce, to get their flu vaccination. Multiple teams across the system have been planning flu vaccinations for patients this fall and winter, including the NM Quality Equity Committee, which is dedicated to addressing disparities in flu vaccination rates for Black and Hispanic patients. NM workforce flu vaccination NM is providing free flu vaccines to all NM physicians and employees in all regions of the health system. As in previous years, physicians and clinical staff will receive their vaccinations on their units. Visit the Seasonal Influenza Vaccination page on NM Interactive (login required) for more information and vaccination station times and locations.
Please complete your seasonal influenza consent form before arriving at the flu vaccination station. Because of the need for physical distancing, NM will not offer a place to complete the consent form at the flu stations. The consent form and the flu vaccination schedule are posted on the NMI Seasonal Influenza Vaccination page. You can also complete the consent form through the NM Workforce app by selecting “Flu Consent Form” from the main dashboard. Instructions for completing the Flu Vaccination Consent Form are provided here.
As in previous years, for NM employees to be eligible to receive an annual incentive award, one of the following actions must be completed by December 1:
Get vaccinated in a clinical area by a designated Employee Flu Prevention Captain.
Get vaccinated at a mass vaccination station.
Get vaccinated by your personal physician or another provider, and submit documentation for approval on NMI by following the pathway App launcher (nine dots top left) > SafetyNet Admin > Immunization Documentation Upload.
Apply for and receive an approved medical or religious accommodation.
Patient vaccination resources Recent research shows that Black, Hispanic and American Indian people have higher rates of severe influenza, including higher rates of hospitalization and in-hospital deaths. However, during the 2020-2021 flu season, Black patients at Northwestern Medicine continued to decline the vaccine twice as often as white patients.
“We have found that there are effective ways to talk with our patients that help to overcome misinformation or confusion about the flu vaccine,” says Muriel Jean-Jacques, MD, chair of the NM Quality Equity Committee. “This is best done by the whole healthcare team.” To help increase confidence in the flu vaccine and improve vaccination rates, a complete set of resources has been developed for clinical teams, including:
A five-minute video featuring NM physicians Dr. Jean-Jacques and Jose Magana, MD, as well as several medical assistants, describing their personal techniques and best practices for discussing the flu vaccine with patients who may be hesitant to get vaccinated
Patient-facing materials (NMI login required), including signs and a flyer in both English and Spanish, addressing common myths and facts about the flu vaccine
Two Epic SmartPhrases that can be added to the After Visit Summary when a patient declines the flu shot
Evidence confirms that a strong recommendation from a trusted healthcare provider can improve vaccine confidence and make a difference in a patient’s willingness to get vaccinated. Be sure to review the available resources, and schedule time with your team to discuss your approach to flu vaccination this fall and winter. Additional patient information about the flu vaccine can be found on the Infection Prevention page on NMI (login required).