Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SHSC) recognizes the importance of immunization of staff members in order to protect themselves, their colleagues and their patients. Despite the supporting evidence, many health care staff remain hesitant to get vaccinated against COVID-19 infection. SHSC took a Quality Improvement approach to identify common barriers to vaccination and appropriate solutions to support staff in their decision-making process, and ultimately enhance our collective vaccination rates.

Initial problem-characterization efforts included: cross-referencing high priority staff groups with historic influenza vaccination rates to identify target groups; engaging qualitative researchers to interview staff conducting COVID vaccine booking calls to understand common reasons for declining vaccination; and interviews with faith leaders regarding perspectives of their communities. These baseline data were combined with previously published strategies for building vaccine confidence, to identify people-centred interventions, including: development of a peer champion program; educational resources (digital and paper) based on direct staff questions; a staff-only email address for questions or concerns about the COVID vaccine; local staff huddles with physician and Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) experts; sharing of unit/team vaccination rates; a staff “Fast Pass” to receive a vaccine without appointment, and dedicated vaccination clinics at more remote campuses. Finally, a COVID Immunization Policy was introduced to ensure that all staff either receive the vaccine, provided proof of medical exemption, or completed a mandatory electronic learning module. Managers were provided with policy compliance data. Overall staff vaccination rates were tracked throughout the campaign to determine impact and further tailor our approach as needed.

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