Some say the “last mile” of any endeavor is the most challenging, and that’s where we find ourselves now. As we move from development, testing and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines to the next phase of transport, storage and administration, we face new challenges. Around the world, we’ll need to stand up vaccination clinics that provide safe, efficient vaccine administration to a staggering number of people. There are many good resources available to provide guidance on how to set up and oversee these vaccination clinics, focusing primarily on best practices for safe vaccination storage and administration. But on-site hygiene also is important – especially as we consider the scale and scope of vaccination clinics in non-healthcare settings.
Here are my six tips for creating a more hygienic environment for vaccinations:
- Make training for hand hygiene and environmental hygiene easy and on-demand.
We'll be coordinating large vaccination clinics for many months to come, which means we’ll need to train new staff and refresh training for existing staff. Best practices related to hand hygiene and environmental hygiene should be a key component of any training provided. In-person and digital options, along with printed reminders of processes throughout a facility, can help staff stay up to date on best practices.
- Plan for the right quantities of hand soaps and disinfectants.
Staff should wash or disinfect their hands before each vaccination, between patients, anytime gloves are removed, and whenever their hands become soiled. To increase use, ensure there is enough hand soap and disinfectant on-site and that it is available in places where it is most needed.
- Make hand hygiene solutions available at the right places.
Once you’ve ensured you have enough hand hygiene products available, make sure it is readily accessible, along with tissues, masks and wastebaskets, throughout the clinic – in both staff and patient areas. Each vaccination station should be stocked with hand disinfectant for the staff to use. In addition, you should place hand disinfectant in patient registration, waiting and recovery areas. Flexible point of care hand disinfectant allow you to place hand disinfectant almost anywhere. Additionally, high-quality products with emollient-enriched formulas have the added benefit of supporting skin health, reducing the opportunity for skin irritation with frequent use. Lastly, you can arm staff with personal sized bottles of hand disinfectant that they can carry around with them so that they have disinfectant on hand wherever they are.
How much hand disinfectant do I need?
While only one pump is needed for Ecolab products with controlled dispensing, people often dispense two or more pumps, so you may need to factor in extra for that possibility. For example, if you are planning to vaccinate 500 patients on a given day, you may need a minimum of 1,000 doses of hand disinfectant for the staff alone, and another 500 doses if each patient performs hand hygiene once. So, you could assume that you will need a minimum of 1,500-1,800 doses of hand disinfectant on hand for every 500 patients vaccinated.
Bioquell is Ecolab’s hydrogen peroxide vapor decontamination technology.