Vaccinations play a vital role in keeping preventable diseases at bay. Whether it’s seasonal threats like influenza or diseases such as measles and polio, vaccines can provide important immunity to keep us all well.
In the St. Louis region, the Visiting Nurse Association has been a leading resource for vaccinations for many years, offering our services to businesses, schools and other organizations in the community.
“We’ve been at the forefront of immunization for many, many years, staying up to date with the latest in vaccines and striving to bring our patients the best, most innovative and safest options,” says Tonya Stacy, Director of Vaccination & Wellness Services at VNA. “Our nurses are well educated and provided with ongoing training. Our chief medical officer is very involved with and constantly reviewing these services.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of vaccinations has once again become clear. However, the CDC reports fewer childhood vaccines were given during this time, as many wellness visits and clinics were cancelled — including those being held by VNA.
As VNA begins to schedule and reschedule clinics in the coming months, important protocols have been put in place to protect our patients and our staff when administering vaccinations and wellness screenings. Here’s what you can expect:
Patient & Staff Interaction
Our staff will perform temperature checks prior to clinics.
Any staff showing symptoms will not be allowed to work. Likewise, any patient who is showing symptoms should not attend the clinic.
Our staff will wear appropriate PPE, including gloves which will be changed between each patient.
We strongly encourage everyone receiving a vaccination to wear a mask.
Areas will be sanitized appropriately.
Consent forms will be sent to companies and organizations ahead of time, so they can be completed prior to the clinic. This will help the clinic progress quicker.
Companies and organizations are encouraged to utilize a sign-up sheet, which we can provide, so that most, if not all, patients have a scheduled time. Larger organizations are strongly encouraged to use our online scheduling program.
We will work closely with companies and organizations to encourage social distancing while patients are waiting to get vaccinated. Wait times should be minimal if the other protocols are in place.
“We’re hoping by implementing these protocols, patients will spend less time waiting in line, expediting their care while ensuring their safety,” says Tonya. “We’ve also adjusted nurse timing, to allow them more time between patients to take all of these important measures.”
Despite the cancellation of clinics this spring — most of which were at schools — all have been rescheduled in August, and VNA anticipates an increased number of clinics and patients this fall. By taking these important precautions, Tonya and the rest of her staff hope it will encourage people to stay up to date on their vaccinations.
“Even though COVID-19 is out there, and it’s not vaccine preventable, you can protect against many other serious things,” says Tonya, “It's really important to keep yourself and your children vaccinated to prevent as much disease as you possibly can — especially during uncertain times.”