The crucial roles of inpatient vaccinations in preventing respiratory viral illnesses


Chest Infections & Disaster Response Network

Disaster Response & Global Health Section

In recent years, the importance of inpatient vaccinations against respiratory viral illnesses has become increasingly clear. As the world grapples with the ever-present threat of contagious diseases like influenza, COVID-19, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and other respiratory viruses, the significance of vaccinating individuals during hospital stays cannot be overstated. Notably, the rates of inpatient vaccinations have significantly increased in recent years.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the success of various strategies to boost vaccine delivery to hospitalized patients. These strategies include personalized catch-up plans, electronic medical record (EMR) prompts, visual reminders, staff education and training, and allowing nonphysicians to screen and order vaccines. The implementation of nonphysician protocols has proven effective in increasing inpatient influenza vaccinations in multiple studies (Mihalek AJ, et al. Hosp Pediatr. 2021 Dec 1. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2021-005924; Skull S, et al. J Paediatr Child Health. 1999;35[5]:472).

Optimizing the delivery of vaccines to hospitalized patients carries substantial public health benefits. This is especially vital for patients who face challenges accessing primary care and during periods of health care systems disruptions, such as those experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In conclusion, inpatient vaccinations against respiratory viral illnesses are supported by a growing body of evidence. These vaccinations not only prevent disease transmission within health care facilities but also protect vulnerable patients, alleviate the burden on health care systems and with the recent approval of the RSV vaccine, we have a new tool to combat respiratory viruses effectively. As we continue to navigate the challenges posed by respiratory viruses, prioritizing inpatient vaccinations is a wise and necessary step toward a healthier, safer future for all.

Stella Ogake, MD – Section Member-at-Large

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