Supporting and empowering GP’s to increase preschool booster vaccination uptake rates and maintain/improve overall childhood immunisation uptake across the Thames Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic.
GP practices in Thames Valley identified that there were significant variations in uptake between the preschool booster and the other 0-5 childhood immunisations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Improving Immunisation Uptake (IIU) Team was asked to work in partnership with general practice to identify and address challenges that were negatively affecting their preschool booster uptake rates.
The graphic below shows the number of practices across the TV with under 80% uptake for preschool boosters in January and November 2020. Working in partnership with our primary care colleagues, the IIU team has supported them to make significant improvements in preschool booster uptake rates across the Thames Valley. By November 2020, only 5 practices across the Thames Valley had uptake rates of <80% versus 27 in January.
Working with our GP partners, the IIU team supported practice staff to identify, address and resolve key issues/challenges that were affecting their preschool booster uptake rates.
A multi-professional whole practice approach enabled current challenges to be identified and an action plan put in place to address them. Working in collaboration with GPs, the IIU team provided specific targeted support which empowered and enabled the practices to put innovative solutions in place. This achieved real benefits for the practice and their patients including:
- Updating patient registration pack to ensure immunisation histories were obtained by staff from families and reviewed.
- Child Health Information Service (CHIS) records were updated with histories that the practice already had but the CHIS team was not aware of.
- The IIU team worked with the practice to review and cleanse both the CHIS and practice data, to ensure its accuracy and understand why children were flagging as having missing immunisations.
- Ghost patients were identified and deregistered.
- Children identified who were not up to date with the UK schedule were offered catch-ups and those coming in from abroad with foreign immunisation histories were targeted.
- Refusals – processes were reviewed, and any refusals were completed/logged and the CHIS team informed.
- Children were identified who had historically been given immunisations early and were offered a further appointment, with any refusals logged correctly.
- Hesitancy – Did not arrive (DNA’s) and non-responders were contacted and clinical discussions took place with parents, resulting in immunisations being rebooked and any refusals logged correctly.
- Availability of appointments was increased.
- Protected time was given to clinical staff each week to call parents the day prior to their appointment during lockdown. The benefit was three-fold: they were reminded about their appointment, they were reassured regarding the infection control measures in place during COVID, and the vaccinations to be administered were explained which minimised the time spent face to face.
If you would like more information on the Improving Immunisation Uptake Service, please contact the team via email or telephone.