Prior to each immunization clinic, all patients should be contacted and provided a brief orientation to your Immunization Clinic process. While this may seem like additional work – and it is – it will help ensure patients attend, are reassured, and they move through the immunization processes calmly and quickly. For some, especially those at higher risk, there is anxiety around coming in-person to the clinic and this may be the first time in months that some have come to the office.
Provide the What to Expect Handout
For some patients a handout will be very helpful and will answer many of the common questions. We have created an example “what to expect” template below, which you can use to create your own handout to send to patients.
Virtual Pre-Visit (if feasible)
Ideally, your office will have capacity for a short virtual pre-visit with all patients (or family units) prior to the immunization clinic and if not all, then at least some who might need a bit of orientation and support. For most people this would be a very short touch base. This can be done as part of booking the immunization appointment. While the pre-visit can be done with a clinician, for many people it can be done with office staff or another member of the team (e.g. learners). A few people may need a longer pre-visit, these may be medically complex (e.g. those who are immunosuppressed) or vaccine hesitant.
Three topics should be covered in the pre-visit (and here is a handy-check list, if you like to use these):
Review Potential Contraindications and Risks
Prior to booking an immunization visit, it is important to review for any potential contraindications. These are defined by the manufacturers.
This includes screening for COVID-19 symptoms.
Review What to Expect
It will be important to provide patients with information and the opportunity to ask questions prior to the immunization appointment.
It is also very helpful to be clear for patients that the immunization clinic is not a place to bring up other issues, medication renewals, etc. Discussion of other issues should be scheduled at another time.
You can use the What to Expect Handout as a guide for this part of the visit.
If you are doing the pre-visit with patients, this is the key moment to review consent. If verbal consent is sufficient, document when you have had this discussion. If written consent is required, this can be shared electronically with patients who can receive an electronic document. (See Prepare for your Immunization Clinic for consent requirements)
Book and Coordinate Appointment
For patients who are eligible and have been prioritized, their immunization will need to be booked. The specific scheduling will depend on clinic capacity and flow (use a calculator in Determine Your Capacity), including some additional patients waitlisted in case you have extra vaccine or no-shows (often 20%).
You can use online booking tools, but we suggest you use other booking methods as well (e.g., phone). Pre-registration is recommended to ensure equitable process, vs opening up immunization clinics on first come, first serve basis.
Also, this allows patients to coordinate if they need support to get to your immunization clinic, etc.
Where appropriate try to group immunization appointments by households.