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Increased Vaccine Uptake Among Eligible Patients at a Veterans Affairs Hospital Through an Inpatient COVID-19 Vaccination Program, Atlanta, Georgia, 2021.

Public Health Reports 2023 November 5
OBJECTIVE: Inpatient vaccination is an opportunity to increase vaccine uptake among patients at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness. We designed and implemented a hospital-based COVID-19 vaccination program with the aim of increasing documentation of vaccine eligibility and COVID-19 vaccination to eligible inpatients before discharge.

METHODS: We integrated a templated note into the electronic medical records and trained health care personnel to screen inpatients and document COVID-19 vaccine eligibility at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Vaccination staff deployed to inpatient wards administered the vaccine to eligible and consenting patients at the bedside. We calculated the number of inpatients whose vaccine eligibility was assessed and documented during a 4-week period after health care personnel were trained. We used the Wald χ2 test to compare the proportion of eligible patients who were vaccinated before discharge 4 weeks before (March 29-April 23, 2021) and 4 weeks after (May 3-28, 2021) the training period.

RESULTS: During the 4 weeks before the training period, COVID-19 vaccine eligibility was not routinely assessed and documented. Of 793 inpatients discharged during the 4 weeks after the training period, 470 (59%) had COVID-19 vaccine eligibility documented. Of 86 patients who were eligible for vaccination, 61 (71%) received COVID-19 vaccination before discharge. COVID-19 vaccination rates during hospitalization increased significantly from 16 of 769 inpatients (2%) during the 4 weeks before training to 61 of 793 inpatients (8%) during the 4 weeks after training ( P  < .001).

CONCLUSION: An inpatient vaccination program that integrated COVID-19 vaccination into discharge planning increased vaccine screening and uptake. Future studies are needed to identify barriers to vaccination and strategies to increase vaccine uptake among those who are hesitant.

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