Evaluating the potential for opportunistic vaccination in a Northern Territory hospital

S. A. Skull, V. Krause, L. A. Roberts, C. B. Dalton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To evaluate the potential for opportunistic vaccination and a simple intervention aimed at improving vaccination coverage for children in hospital. Methods: Hospital records were reviewed for children under 7 years, discharged from paediatric wards (PW) and the emergency department (ED) for 4 weeks before and after an intervention (423 and 446 children, respectively). This comprised the education of staff and the introduction of prompts to record vaccination status. Results: Documentation of vaccination status increased in the PW (63-90%) and the ED (24-46%), as did the adequacy of detail recorded (51-77% and 8-36%, respectively). Opportunistic vaccination increased from zero of 84 opportunities during the first audit to six of 139 following the intervention. All but one vaccine was given in the PW. Opportunistic vaccination improved when documentation identified a need for vaccination (P = 0.02). Conclusion: There were numerous missed opportunities to vaccinate children in hospital, especially in the ED. Simple prompts improved documentation of vaccination status and the detail of information recorded. Despite improved documentation, opportunistic vaccination failed to improve in the ED. Improving documentation of vaccination status is not sufficient in itself to improve opportunistic vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-475
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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