Drive-through immunisation clinics are an alternative venue for supporting vaccine delivery. A drive-through clinic can assist members of the community to continue to receive recommended immunisations whilst maintaining physical distancing.

A drive-through clinic may not be a setting that is recommended for all patients. It is important that patients be screened for their suitability to use a drive-through service prior to immunisation. Pre-screening of patients can identify previous immunisation reactions, history of vasovagal reactions or needle phobia.

Running sessions by appointment may allow for planning the type and amount of vaccines required and also allows the flow of patients to be staggered in order to prevent traffic congestion.

Preparation for drive-through clinics

There are many different factors that need to be considered when setting up for this type of immunisation venue.

The location:

Consider a location within close proximity of the GP service or health care facility (if applicable). An ideal location would allow for a 1-directional flow of traffic in order to avoid congestion and ensure the safety of roaming staff members. Each individual parking bay should allow enough room for all 4 car doors to completely open without any obstructions (to ensure full access to each patient should AEFI occur).

Equipment:

Carefully consider the equipment required to set up and maintain a drive-through clinic. Equipment should include clear signage, bed/chair to manage adverse events if required, an anaphylaxis response kit, essential paperwork, (such as pre-immunisation checklists and vaccine side effects forms), equipment to maintain the cold chain, as well as any equipment necessary to prepare and administer vaccines. Remote access to patient records and the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) is recommended to allow for review of immunisation records. as well as appropriate documentation of any vaccines administered.

Staff:

Staff may include nurse immunisers, as well as medical and administrative personnel.

The cold chain

Storage of vaccines in a drive-through clinic setting must comply with the cold chain recommendations set out by the vaccine manufacturer.  The time between vaccines being removed from purpose-built vaccine fridges to being administered should be as short as possible.

During a drive-through immunisation session

Immunisation history, pre-immunisation checklist, possible vaccine side effects and suitability for immunisation must be reviewed and discussed prior to vaccination.

Emergency equipment (anaphylaxis response kit) and a telephone must be readily available should they be required.

Correct injection technique is essential, ensuring that the entire limb is exposed and correct anatomical landmarks identified to locate the correct injection site. If a patient cannot be safely immunised in the car (eg: child seated in the middle car seat) or is not a suitable candidate for in-vehicle immunisation then they could be immunised out of the car in a chair, then returned to the car to wait for the recommended 15 minute waiting period. Patients should be advised not to get in and out of their cars whilst parked.

Post-immunisation in a drive-though session

Following immunisation, patients must remain at the vaccination venue for at least 15 minutes and should be advised to avoid driving for at least 15 minutes following vaccination. Patients waiting in their vehicles should be instructed to use the car horn to gain attention in their 15 minute observation period if required. All vaccines should be recorded on the AIR and appropriate documentation should be completed and provided to the patient.

Resources

Authors: Francesca Machingaifa (SAEFVIC Research Nurse, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) and Rachael McGuire (SAEFVIC Research Nurse, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)

Date: February 2021

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family’s personal health. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult a healthcare professional.