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.

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