If your practice or clinic is part of the administering of the COVID-19 vaccination, the largest vaccine roll out in the history of the country, there are important factors that you should be across to minimise any hygiene risks and maintain patient confidence.
The Australian Government has announced the Covid-19 vaccination strategy which outlines the priority groups and phases of the roll-out. High risks groups including front line workers, elderly individuals and those with an underlying medical condition or disability started to receive the vaccine in March.
The nationwide program is expected to continue throughout the year with the goal to expand to the adult population by October 2021.
Plans to vaccinate all priority groups throughout the winter months may pose some increased hygiene risks. Seasonal illnesses (flu) combined with heightened foot traffic can easily create an unsafe and unhygienic environment that can disrupt the health and wellbeing of higher risk individuals, clinic staff and visitors.
Below are 4 hygiene best practices to consider before your premise starts administering the vaccine.
1. Watch for cross-contamination hotspots
Areas considered to have a high touch potential between multiple users including door handles, chairs and counter tops are cross-contamination hot spots. Ensuring these high risk surfaces are included in your disinfection or surface sanitisation plan will significantly reduce the risk of bacterial and viral transmission.
2. What will the flow of traffic look like?
How you plan to segregate and direct the flow of foot traffic will determine what hygiene protocols you should put in place. Government direction for sites participating in the program is to have separate waiting, screening, vaccination and post vaccination areas to encourage a one way flow of traffic. Each section will require social distancing measures, appropriate hand sanitising facilities and regular disinfection of communal surfaces such as door handles, chairs and counter tops.
3. Will your current medical waste disposal units and collection frequencies meet the increased demand?
A key factor to consider is how to safely handle the increased clinical waste that is anticipated from the administering of not just the COVID-19 vaccine, but the flu shot too.
Are your sharps containers large enough and easily accessible at various administering areas to handle the increased waste? You may need to evaluate the collection frequencies to ensure that your clinic always has access to fresh, empty and available sharps containers.
4. Is there sufficient ventilation for adequate air circulation?
If ventilation within a building is poor, airborne pathogens and pollutants can become trapped where they continue to circulate, risking cross-contamination. In the context of administering the COVID vaccine and the onset of flu season, does your premise have regular flows of fresh air? In the case of higher patient numbers in smaller confined spaces, it would be worth considering other options to filter out harmful airborne pathogens. There are a wide range of air purification solutions that can remove particles and viruses from the air.
How germs spread
- When an infected person is in close proximity of others (within at least 6 feet)
- When an infected person produces air droplets through coughing, sneezing, talking or screaming
- When someone touches a surface or object contaminated with a virus, and then touches their own eyes, nose, or mouth
Protecting people, enhancing lives
Initial Hygiene provides full-service solutions that work in unison to protect the health and wellbeing of your staff, patients and visitors.
We’re always innovating to optimise and improve hygiene quality and perception – in and out of washrooms. As the trusted experts in hygiene, let us show you why improving hygiene practices isn’t only important for people, it’s important for your business too.
For a free assessment of your current hygiene and medical waste disposal practices, call Initial today on 1300 73 1234 or contact us here.