This should be prime time for recommending flu shots to patients, ideally offering to give one on the spot if medically appropriate for the patient’s condition at the time of service. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months of age or older receive an influenza vaccine every year, preferably by the end of October. Just as important from an administrative (and legal) perspective is remembering to provide an official Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) before administering a flu shot—or any vaccine, per CDC guidelines. A few key facts regarding VISs are important to keep in mind:
- You must provide a VIS before administering a vaccine—including one for each dose of any vaccine given.
- The VIS should be provided in a language the patient understands. The CDC provides VISs in 30 languages.
- The VIS can be given to the patient as a take-home paper copy; as a permanent, laminated version that stays in the office; or, for some vaccines, downloaded to a smartphone or other device in the office.
- The fact that a VIS was given to the patient must be recorded in the medical record. Be sure to include the edition of the VIS (found in the bottom right corner of the back page of the VIS); the office address and name and title of the person who gave the vaccine; and the date the VIS was provided.
All CDC VISs are available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/index.html