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Use of Emergency Medical Services Personnel in Public Health Immunization Clinics

With the outbreak of 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) virus, local public health departments (LPHDs) have been encouraged to use resources such as local EMS personnel to participate in the vaccination process.

EMS services and individual providers will be able to assist local public health departments with vaccinations for both the Seasonal Flu and the 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) virus using specific parameters.

Liability protection for administering Influenza A (H1N1) monovalent vaccines is provided by the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act (details below).

The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency and has enacted the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act as a result of the outbreak of novel Influenza A (H1N1) 2009. The Secretary has included novel H1N1 vaccines as a covered countermeasure under the PREP Act. This provides immunity from tort liability (except for willful misconduct) for claims of loss, caused arising out of, relating to, or resulting from administration or use of covered countermeasures. The PREP Act provides liability immunity to licensed health professionals or other individuals who are authorized to prescribe, administer, or dispense covered countermeasures under the law of the State. Therefore it is essential that EMS agencies and personnel work closely with their medical director and the tribal health director or local health officer.

There are two ways that a tribal or local public health agency may partner with EMS personnel to assist with the administration of the Influenza A (H1N1) monovalent vaccines. They are as follows:

  1. The EMS service director (or medical director) may coordinate with the tribal or local public health agency to use the EMS service resources, including personnel and vehicles. The EMS personnel would function under the EMS service’s medical direction to participate in the administration of Influenza A (H1N1) monovalent vaccine. EMS agencies will need to update their Operation Plan, and adopt the Wisconsin EMS protocol and procedure for vaccinations available below.  In addition to their protocol and procedure EMS personnel will need to follow all public health guidelines. In this scenario, the authority for the Paramedic or EMT to vaccinate is shared between the EMS agency, and the tribal or local public health agency.

  2. The tribal or local public health agency may request and use volunteers or paid contract employees to assist in the administration of Influenza A (H1N1) monovalent vaccines as part of their local practices, and/or in accordance with the local Public Health Emergency Plan or Mass Clinic Plan.  Individual Paramedics and EMTs may volunteer or be paid as a contract employee to assist the tribal or local public health agency with these vaccinations.  The Paramedics and/or EMTs would be working under the immediate direction of the tribal or local public health agency and can be provided with ‘Just in Time’ training, as appropriate. It is the responsibility of the tribal or local public health agency to verify the Paramedics’ and/or EMTs’ skill level and ability to administer vaccine. When an individual Paramedic or EMT is acting in this capacity, he/she would not be working under his/her EMS license, as he/she is not acting in conjunction with a recognized EMS agency or medical director at that point in time. In this scenario the Paramedic or EMT is a volunteer or paid contract employee. Authority to vaccinate is from the tribal or local public health agency.

The 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) vaccine will only be available for administration to local public health departments and registered clinical sites (such as hospitals and clinics) and will be distributed to these agencies through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Seasonal Flu vaccinations should also be administered in cooperation with the local public health department.

In order to receive approval for vaccination administration, each service will need to complete and submit all appropriate "Medical Guideline and Procedure" documents below:

Submit completed Guidelines and Procedures to the appropriate Program Coordinator at EMS Section, PO Box 2659, Madison, WI  53701-2659 prior to deployment of this program by the EMS service.

Other related documents that you will need to have available for use and dissemination (per above Medical Guidelines and Procedures) include:

Training resources:

Other influenza resources for EMS providers include:

For further information contact Fred Hornby.

Last Revised: October 02, 2014