Effective and Sustainable Advice Line Promotes Safe Vaccine Practices

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Aim: The SHOT LINE Telephone Assistance Resource provides consistent and timely education to healthcare providers ensuring safe delivery of immunizations.

Background: A local health district created and implemented an advice line to assist healthcare personnel with immunization storage or administration questions. Healthcare workers with varying levels of education call with requests for information including vaccine administration, storage and handling, scheduling, contraindications, and timing.

Methods: Ten years of call data to the SHOT LINE were analyzed through categorizing type of calls, personnel calling, facility type, information needed, and education provided.

Results: There were 3032 calls received from various job types. The most frequent inquiries were vaccine-specific calls, timing, and vaccine schedules. Medical assistants from family medicine clinics called the most. Five percent of the calls included reports of immunization errors. Healthcare personnel reported errors and self-disclosed making errors; 7% of all calls were errors in the first 2 years, but decreased to 5.4% in the last 8 years.

Conclusion: The SHOT LINE telephone assistance provides timely education to healthcare personnel whose primary responsibilities are immunization practice management, administration, and handling. The findings reveal a significant need for timely advice in immunization practice management. Error reporting was an unexpected outcome of this advice line. Call categories of vaccine-specific information, vaccine timing, and schedules were similar across all groups of callers. The advice line has grown to include parents, school nurses, childcare providers, and emergency personnel. In summary, the SHOT LINE prevents errors, increases accuracy of vaccine management, and provides 'just in time' education.