Increasing Influenza Immunization Rates at a Homeless Clinic Through Staff Education
Background: Healthy People 2020, a government organization that sets health goals for the United States, has established the benchmark objective of 70% influenza vaccination coverage. National trends show immunization rates are a dismal 41.7% for the adult population. Persons
experiencing homelessness are a vulnerable population in which access to preventative health care services is lacking. Prevention of acute illness, whenever possible, is crucial to maintaining the health of this population. The purpose of this project is to increase influenza vaccinations through staff education at a homeless clinic.
Methods: Eighty-eight volunteer staff, at a student led homeless clinic, received education on the influenza vaccinations. The education occurred at the first orientation meeting of the fall semester in 2016 and consisted of; the importance of immunizations, goals of Healthy People 2020, and an emphasis on addressing patient objections. The effectiveness of the program
compared the percentage of patients immunized from August - December 2016 to 2015.
Results: Post intervention, 44% of the clinic patients were immunized against influenza,
compared to 18% (pre-intervention). This finding resulted in a statistically significant increase in
vaccinations (Z= -5.513, p= < .001, Wilcoxon signed rank test). Eighty-eight volunteers were
present at the influenza vaccination educational intervention and 82 returned their surveys
(response rate 93%). The average score of the posttest was 96% (range 70-100%).
Conclusions: These findings support staff education on influenza vaccinations as a strategy for
increasing vaccination in the homeless population. Such interventions provide promise to
increase influenza vaccinations, however, they fall short of meeting the goals of Healthy People
2020. Identifying innovative interventions is critical to meet the goals of Healthy People 2020.