How to Administer the Flu Vaccine

Written by amber keefer
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How to Administer the Flu Vaccine
. (KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images)

There are a lot of sensible reasons for getting a flu shot, the main one being that the vaccine saves lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend vaccinating all adults who are at risk for getting sick from seasonal influenza or transmitting it to others. Because statistics show that as many people die from the flu virus each year as those killed in motor vehicle accidents, the CDC advises that adults get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available. However, there is a specific procedure that nurses and other licensed health care workers must follow for administering the flu vaccine to adults.

Things you need

  • Vaccine Information Statement
  • 1-1/2 inch, 22-gauge needle and syringe
  • Alcohol swab
  • 0.5mL dosage of influenza vaccine
  • Gauze
  • Patient chart or immunisation record card

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  1. 1

    Identify adult individuals at high risk of getting the flu or transmitting it to others. These include health workers or individuals who have chronic health conditions, are older than age 50, or reside in a nursing home or other long-term care facility.

  2. 2

    Provide patients with information about the possible side effects. Ask if there is any chance that a female patient might be pregnant. Find out if a person has any allergies, particularly food allergies, or has previously experienced serious side effects after getting a flu shot.

  3. 3

    Give patients a copy of a Vaccine Information Statement (VIS), explaining both the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine. Make certain that they understand what it says before administering the vaccine. Answer any other questions the patient might have.

  4. 4

    Administer injectable vaccine intramuscularly in the deltoid muscle on the shoulder. Use a needle 1 or 1-1/2 inches in length for adults. For adult individuals who weigh less than 130 pounds/60kg, use a 5/8-inch needle. Select a 22- to 25-gauge needle to inject the vaccine.

  5. 5

    Stretch the skin at the injection site so that it is tight between the thumb and index finger. This makes it easier for the needle to penetrate, causing less pain. Cleanse the site with an alcohol swab.

  6. 6

    Insert the needle at no more than a 90-degree angle, injecting the vaccine at a slow and steady rate. Adults require a 0.5mL dosage of the vaccine. Withdraw the needle and cover the injection site with clean gauze or a bandage.

  7. 7

    Record the date the vaccination was given and your signature and initials in the patient's medical chart or on the immunisation record card. Federal law requires that the type of vaccination given and route of administration be recorded, as well as the vaccine lot number and manufacturer. Many health care professionals also document the name and location of the site where the vaccination was administered.

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