Immunizations Challenge Healthcare Personnel and Affects Immunization Rates

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Purpose: This study measured 1. medical office immunization rates and 2. health care personnel competency in managing vaccine practices before and after evidence-based immunization education was provided.

Method: This descriptive study compared 32 family medicine and pediatric offices and 178 medical assistants, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians in knowledge-based testing pre-education, post-education, and 12-months post-education. Immunization rates were assessed before and 18-months post-education.

Results: Immunization rates increased 10.3% - 18 months post-education; knowledge increased 7.8% - 12 months post-education. Family medicine offices, licensed practical nurses, and medical assistants showed significant knowledge deficits before and 12-months post-education. All demographic groups scored less in storage/handling 12-months post-education.

Conclusion: This study is one of the first studies to identify competency challenges in effective immunization delivery among medical assistants, licensed practical nurses, and family medicine offices. Formal and continuous education in immunization administration and storage/handling is recommended among these select groups.