The AAP and CDC recommend all individuals 6 months and older be vaccinated for influenza by the end of October. Pediatricians and other pediatric clinicians, and families/caregivers can work together to ensure all children and adolescents, especially those with underlying medical conditions get vaccinated as soon as the influenza vaccine is available.
Scheduling a large number of patients can be a daunting task for many practices, especially as it usually coincides with the beginning of the school year and an increase in acute care visits. Consider scheduling well visits and sick visits at different times of the day, using specific exam rooms for well visits and vaccine-only visits to minimize time in the waiting room. Any encounter should be a chance to administer the influenza vaccine, as well as to catch up on other missed immunizations.
- Prepare your patient lists and schedules early in the summer to help organize your practice and educate your staff prior to the influx of vaccine-only visits.
- Schedule vaccine-only visits or implement an influenza vaccination clinic to increase vaccination rates in your patient population.
- When scheduling patients let them know what pre-visit forms/information will need to be completed prior to the appointment (eg, insurance verification, consent forms, etc).
- Consider providing age-appropriate tips for parents in preparing their child for vaccination and comforting them post-vaccination.
Consider the following when establishing your vaccine schedule and scheduling patient:
- How many patients do you anticipate?
- Does your practice have enough vaccines for your patient population?
- Will your practice also offer appointments after regular hours or on a weekend?
- Will the clinic co-administer other vaccines (ie, routine childhood immunization and COVID-19)?
- Will the practice provide vaccination for adult family members of the patient? Refer to the Immunizing Parents and Other Close Family Contacts in the Pediatric Office Setting technical report for more information.
Review these scheduling tips and best practices to get your practice through the influenza season.
Tools and Resources
American Academy of Pediatrics