Health / Roundups

Why this paperless flu shot drive doubles as a preparedness drill

ChristianaCare sets one day aside to vaccinate its entire staff — and test how it would handle a disease outbreak.

Delaware Blue Coats mascot Coaty hanging with CristianaCare employees getting their annual flu shots. (Courtesy photo)

This editorial article is a part of's Corporate Innovation Month of our editorial calendar.

Nearly 100% of the approximately 12,000 employees of ChristianaCare get their flu shots every fall.

Last year, the company turned vaccination season into a one-day event as part of its #HitMeWithYourFluShot campaign, spreading awareness while testing the health system’s efficiency in delivering a high volume of vaccines in one day.

This year, thanks to a new paperless system, the event is more efficient than ever.

“It’s a one-day event for all of our employees on Wilmington Hospital campus, Christiana Hospital campus and Middletown West, with mobile vaccinators going to some of our larger practice sites,” said Michelle Power, infection preventionist at Wilmington Hospital, in an interview with “We’re trying to vaccinate as many employees as we can in one day.”

Christiana Hospital even offers a drive-through vaccination option where employees who have the day off can get their flu shot without even getting out of their cars.

While the atmosphere has a festive feel, with appearances by local sports mascots Coaty and YoUDee, the event is, in reality, an emergency preparedness drill. In the event of an infectious outbreak, healthcare professional would need to be vaccinated en masse very quickly, both to protect themselves and to help reduce the spread of infection.

“What we’d like to see is that we’re able to, as a system, in the event of an emergency — say, smallpox — we would be able to see how many people we would be able to vaccinate and how to handle people and protect them,” said Power. “With a vaccine, you’re not only protecting the person themselves, but there’s herd immunity. We’re protecting the patients, we’re protecting our families, and the families of the patients, and we’re protecting ourselves. It also protects people who can’t get a vaccine, a baby in the NICU that’s too tiny to get a vaccine or the grandmother going through chemotherapy and can’t get the vaccine. The majority of our staff getting vaccinated helps protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

This year’s paperless system had made it much easier and quicker.

“It’s working very well,” Power said. “We have pre-filled [digital] forms, so every one of our employees pre-fills their form before coming to us, so all we have to do is scan their ID badges and then all the questions are in there. The vaccinator will ask a few additional questions or confirm the questions, then it’s clicked, it’s saved, it electronically sends an email to the employee that they were vaccinated. They don’t have to sign all the paper forms that we used to have to sign.

“It’s lovely,” she said of the paper-free upgrade. “I love it, I’m so thrilled.”

RNs Christine Cianfrini and Danielle Gomez were manning one of several vaccination stations at Wilmington Hospital. They agreed that everything was moving quickly and smoothly.

“[Last year] it was much more cumbersome,” said Cianfrini. “I felt like I was juggle paper nonstop.  It’s perfect with everything in the system.”

The goal to vaccinate the staff all in one day is only one part of the the event. Another is the #HitMeWithYourFluShot social media hashtag that reminds people in the community that it’s time to get an annual flu shot, a push that includes a “selfie” campaign of on-and-offline ads featuring ChristianaCare employees, including everyone from drivers to nurses to CFO Rob McMurray.

Companies: ChristianaCare
Series: Corporate Innovation Month 2019

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