Resources to Help Assure Competency of Clinic Staff Administering Vaccines

April 2014

Technically Speaking
Monthly Column by Deborah Wexler, MD
Deborah Wexler MD
Technically Speaking is a monthly column written by IAC’s Executive Director Deborah Wexler, MD. The column is featured in The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center’s (VEC’s) monthly e-newsletter for healthcare professionals. Technically Speaking columns cover practical topics in immunization delivery such as needle length, vaccine administration, cold chain, and immunization schedules.
Check out a recent issue of Vaccine Update for Healthcare Providers. The VEC e-newsletter keeps providers up to date on vaccine-related issues and includes reviews of recently published journal articles, media recaps, announcements about new resources, and a regularly updated calendar of events.
Resources to Help Assure Competency of Clinic Staff Administering Vaccines
Published April 2014
Information presented in this article may have changed since the original publication date. For the most current immunization recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, visit
Protecting the health of your patients depends on following the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for preparing and administering vaccines to patients. Are you and your staff fully versed in the technical aspects of administering vaccines? Can the staff who provide vaccines in your setting answer “yes” to the following questions?
Do you know how to:
Choose the needle length and gauge that are appropriate for each patient?
Properly prepare the vaccine (and diluent) for administration?
Determine which vaccines are administered intramuscularly (IM) and which are subcutaneous (SC)?
Select the recommended site on the arm or leg for proper IM and SC injection?
Safely dispose of the needle, syringe, nasal spray container, or rotavirus vaccine dosing device?
The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) is here to help with a multitude of both practical and technical vaccination resources for healthcare professionals, including free print materials covering important topics in vaccine administration. Also available for a nominal charge is an excellent training DVD, Immunization Techniques: Best Practices with Infants, Children and Adults.
Handy print materials and forms
IAC’s website features helpful print materials on vaccine administration in its Handouts for Patients and Staff web section. Its Administering Vaccines Web section includes the following up-to-date tools and forms for clinic staff:
Administering Vaccines: Dose, Route, Site, and Needle Size Reference table providing key information on administering vaccines to patients of all ages.
Administering Vaccines to Adults: Dose, Route, Site, and Needle Size: Reference table covering key information on administering vaccines to adult patients.
How to Administer IM and SC Vaccine Injections: Reference table covering key information on administering vaccines to adult patients.
How to Administer IM and SC Vaccine Injections to Adults: One-page information sheet with illustrations showing how to administer intramuscular (IM) and subcutaneous (SC) injections to adult patients.
NEW! How to Administer Intradermal, Intranasal, and Oral Vaccinations: One-page information sheet with illustrations showing how to administer intradermal, intranasal, and oral vaccinations.
How to Administer Intramuscular, Intradermal, and Intranasal Influenza Vaccines: Provider piece showing how to administer IM, intradermal, and intranasal influenza vaccines.
Vaccines with Diluents: How to Use Them: Table of vaccines requiring reconstitution prior to administration; also includes information about the diluent and time allowed between reconstitution and use.
Skills Checklist for Immunization: Self-assessment tool for healthcare staff, to be used in conjunction with the immunization techniques training DVD (see the following section).
Immunization techniques DVD
Developed by the Immunization Branch of the California Department of Public Health, in collaboration with a team of national experts, the 35-minute DVD “Immunization Techniques: Best Practices with Infants, Children, and Adults” focuses on the skills and techniques needed for vaccine administration. Every organization that administers vaccines should have a copy of this comprehensive educational program, which includes “how to” information about providing vaccinations in a clinic or non-traditional setting. It is appropriate for training and orientation, as well as a refresher for more experienced staff. To purchase this great DVD, visit
Vaccine information statements
Finally, please remember that it’s a federal requirement to provide a copy of the relevant Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) to your patient or their legal guardian before administering almost all vaccines to infants, children and adults. Check the IAC website to find a wealth of VIS information, including translations of the forms into a wide variety of languages.


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