RCPCH responds to long awaited vaccine strategy

NHS England has published its overdue vaccination strategy, ‘Shaping the future delivery of NHS vaccination and immunisation services’.
Young boy getting vaccinated in his arm

The strategy outlines it’s plans to reverse declining vaccine uptake and address challenges around vaccine confidence and accessibility. These plans include:

  • Providing a ‘front door’ to vaccination that makes it as easy as possible for people to understand why they should have a vaccine, know where and how to get it, book an appointment if one is necessary and get to the location of the services. This applies to routine vaccinations including the childhood vaccination programme. 
  • Explore use of the NHS App to improve the experience of booking a vaccination and understanding individual vaccine histories.
  • Plan outreach services that meet the needs of their underserved populations and address wider health inequalities.
  • Help make vaccination the business of everyone working in patient-facing roles through training and awareness campaigns and widening the roles that can vaccinate to increase the number of vaccinators.
  • Work with the royal colleges, GMC, other relevant bodies, and local authorities to explore how vaccination can be a more prominent part of training for all staff.
  • Create a national vaccination data record to improve availability of timely, accurate data across all vaccination programmes and enable use of national capabilities, such as invitations and bookings, for a wider set of vaccinations and outbreak response.

RCPCH President, Dr Camilla Kingdon, said:

We’re pleased to see that the Government has listened to our calls and finally published the highly anticipated vaccine strategy. We know that vaccines prevent around 5 million deaths annually around the globe. They are quite literally lifesavers and are fundamental to good child health.   

This strategy has great potential for much needed change. We welcome the strong focus on addressing challenges around accessibility and welcome proposals to provide flexible and convenient vaccination services, as we know this is one of the main barriers to uptake. I am confident that these proposals can work.  

However, I am concerned that implementation plans for this strategy are not nearly as ambitious as we need them to be. The current aim is full implementation by 2025/26. Two years seems an unacceptably long wait. We’re already arriving late to this work and are feeling the effects of low uptake, particularly in the MMR vaccine. This is urgent - we must get to work straight away.