A report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has said the NHS Vaccination Programme met “stretching and unprecedented targets” as it helped save lives and reduce hospital admissions – all while making effective use of public money.
Commenting on the findings, GP and deputy lead for the NHS Vaccination Programme, Dr Nikki Kanani, said: “The National Audit Office finding that the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Programme delivered value for money confirms what we already knew about the biggest and most successful vaccine drive in health service history – it was delivered efficiently, effectively, and at speed, vaccinating more than four in five adults with a booster and preventing more than 100,000 hospitalisations since mid-December, according to the latest data.
“As the programme continues to respond to new scientific advice, NHS staff and volunteers are still committed to pulling out all the stops, vaccinating at community hubs like places of worship and sports stadiums, as well on buses, at drive-through clinics, and even in ‘mini toy towns’ created especially for children, in order to ensure all communities are protected from COVID.
“Hospital admissions may be starting to fall slightly but community transmission remains high in some parts of the country and it’s not too late to come forward for your first, second of booster dose, if you haven’t already – the offer of a COVID vaccine on the NHS is evergreen”.
88.5% of adults (aged 18+) were reported to have received two doses of the vaccine up to 16th February 2022 (based on our daily publication).
The NHS will shortly be setting out the next steps on the biggest and most successful drive in health history shortly, including the expansion to all 5- to 11-year-olds, and the additional doses for over 75s, housebound and the immunosuppressed, in line with updated JCVI guidance.
The NHS worked closely with the MHRA to safely extend the shelf life of both Pfizer and Moderna.
Throughout the course of the pandemic the NHS has worked to increase confidence in the vaccine among all groups in society and make the vaccine as accessible for everyone as possible, including by:
Increasing confidence by making information on the vaccine and possible side effects easily accessible for everyone and then translating these materials into more than 20 languages.
Tackling misinformation online and promoting verified sources of information such as on NHS.uk through socials.
Using pop-up and walk-in sites to make it convenient for everyone to get the vaccine at a time and place that suits them, which included places of worship for various relgions, workplaces in multiple sectors and targeted at those with lower uptake, as well as community hubs like sports stadiums and even restaurants.
Analysis of take up showed ethnic minorities were more likely to ‘grab a jab’ during these weekend pushes than white groups.
Increasing confidence in the vaccine using ‘vaccine champions’ for different communities, including faith and community leaders, as well as celebrities.
We used healthcare professionals, like Nikki, Martin Griffiths, Farzana Hussain, Bola Owolabi, do to national and targeted media interviews, as evidence suggests confidence increases seeing people like them encourage/take vaccine.
We also used campaigns with celebrities like Lenny Henry and Nadiya Hussain to reach specific communities.
We were also involved in campaigns led by community hubs like Black Churches and England Boxing, as some evidence people are more resistant to authority.
Local NHS teams also set up “jab cabs” and buses, free transport for people unable to get to a vaccine site for various reasons.
NHS maternity teams also put on vaccine clinics around the country for pregnant women, allowing them easy access to expert advice, education and support, at existing appointments, as well as the opportunity to get jabbed at antenatal clinics.