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RCN publishes child immunisation guidelines to ‘reduce errors’



The RCN has issued guidelines including an eight-rule checklist for child immunisation clinics to ‘help reduce potential errors in general practice’ and support ‘efficient’ vaccine rollout.

The guidelines, called Managing Childhood Immunisation Clinics, provide tips for general practice nurses on how to avoid making common errors when administering vaccines and what to do when things go wrong. 

The booklet outlines the ‘8Rs’ that should be checked before giving a vaccine: right patient, right vaccine and diluent, right to give, right time, right dose, right route, right sight and right documentation.

The guidelines are to help tackle the most common immunisation errors including vaccinating the wrong child, administering the wrong vaccine, expired vaccinations remaining in the fridge and vaccines given at the wrong time of the schedule or incorrectly stored.

RCN professional lead for public health nursing Helen Donovan said all practitioners involved in immunisation ‘should be able to demonstrate current, evidence-based and best practice-based knowledge and understanding in accordance with the National Minimum Immunisation Standards’.

She added: ‘Well organised, friendly and flexible vaccination clinics help to instil public confidence and maintain high coverage of vaccines. They also support parents in making sure their children have the vaccines they are due in a timely way.’

In the UK childhood immunisation programme, children and young people are offered vaccines against 18 to 20 infectious diseases before aged 18.

Further resources can be found on the RCN immunistion web pages.

Earlier this month, a University of Oxford study found the rate of uptake of childhood vaccinations around the world has fallen sharply during the Covid-19 pandemic.

During 2016 to 2019, after reductions in vaccinations, worldwide measles deaths increased by 50%, with over 200,000 lives lost in 2019.

In England, coverage for the MMR1 vaccine fell below the World Health Organisation (WHO) 95% target during September and December 2020.