If you are a certified physician, then you would already know about the correct influenza vaccine dose and the proper vaccination procedure. But we have compiled a few tips that you might not be aware of, or at least, take as a kind reminder. Please note that this article only refers to vaccine administration on adults 19 years and up.
Recommended Site and Needle Gauge via Intramuscular Injection
In order to select the correct injection site and needle gauge via intramuscular injection, you need to assess your patient physically. Examine the patient’s muscle size and thickness of the fatty tissue at the site of injection. Generally, the vaccine is injected into the deltoid muscle found in the upper arm. If this site cannot be used, try the vastus lateralis muscle, which is in the anterolateral thigh. You can use a fine-gauge needle as the influenza vaccine is not that thick. The size of the needle will vary depending on the patient’s weight. The heavier the person, the thicker the needle, and vice versa. Please note that for those who weigh less than 60 kg, you need to insert the needle at a 90° angle. Then stretch the skin flat between your thumb and forefinger.
Getting the Right Device, and To Aspirate or Not To Aspirate
Make sure that you get a good syringe with the appropriate needle gauge based on the body weight. To get a reliable supply of this device, contact a medical wholesaler that sells products related to flu vaccination. However, before injecting the vaccine, kindly note that you should not aspirate. Aspiration refers to the pulling back on the syringe plunger after the needle is inserted but before the actual injection. This is because the recommended site as aforementioned do not have large blood vessels, and therefore aspiration is not required before the flu shot.
In Relation To Other Vaccinations
You may administer the inactivated flu shot at the same time as other vaccines. This includes zoster (HZV), pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV23), and pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13) vaccine shots. Make sure to administer each vaccine at different injection sites with at least a one-inch gap in between. Therefore, in the event of any reaction or abnormal side effects, the responsible vaccine can be isolated. Important: Do not administer PPSV23 and PCV13 together.
If Incorrect Route Has Been Utilized
If an incorrect route was used to administer the inactive flu shot, then you can repeat the dose. This refers to cases whereby an intradermal route was chosen even though the formulation label states it is for intramuscular injection. Try to administer the dose immediately as there is no minimum interval needed between the shots and the repeated doses.
Incorrect Dose Administration
If the patient has been administered a smaller than recommended dose of inactivated influenza vaccine, then give the remaining vaccine volume. However, adding up to a full dose can only happen on the same clinic day. A full dose is required if the patient does not return the next day or as soon as the patient returns. On the other hand, if a larger dose is accidentally administered, then this count as a valid dose whereby revaccination is not required.
As the title states, this is merely a basic guide. As the flu shot is also administered to children, you may want to check up on that. For a more comprehensive read on influenza vaccine and everything related to it, please refer to medical sites, journals, and recognized medical institutions.