Providing opportunistic immunisations for at-risk inpatients in a tertiary paediatric hospital


Attaining high immunisation coverage rates for children with medical conditions is vital. The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) Immunisation Service has the opportunity to check each inpatient's immunisation status and provide opportunistic vaccines and/or bring the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) up-to-date. This paper highlights that during admission, one quarter of children were not up-to-date with routine scheduled immunisations and 42% of those inpatients due or overdue for immunisation were vaccinated. The model of establishing routine checking of immunisation records and reminding hospital staff about immunisation can result in improvements in vaccination coverage. Healthcare providers have a responsibility to check immunisation status and offer vaccines when necessary; however, often there are missed opportunities to immunise. This paper demonstrates that having a dedicated Immunisation Service, a partnership with a relevant government agency, and effective collaboration with inpatient clinical teams, opportunistic immunisation can be achieved for inpatients.