When the national COVID-19 vaccination programme began in December 2020, it was understood that everyone should have equal access to the vaccine, as appropriate to their need, and as prioritised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.  Within a few weeks however, there were early indications that there were differences in uptake amongst different population groups and in different parts of the country (The OpenSAFELY Collaborative 2021).

As a result of these differences, many local examples of initiatives to increase vaccine uptake began to emerge. The Health Inequalities Improvement Team in partnership with the Vaccine Equalities Team at NHS England and Improvement commissioned the Strategy Unit to collect and collate some of these examples in a structured way.

What we did: using social media channels and professional networks we identified and requested a half hour conversation with people involved in initiatives to increase local vaccine uptake.  We spoke to people in March-April 2020, involved in 50 different initiatives across England and wrote up each of these individual accounts in a structured way.

The examples we collected focused on four target groups: place of residence, ethnicity, faith communities and health status and could be grouped as two main types of intervention: information and outreach. Representative examples of each of these are included as case studies on the NHS England website, all 50 examples can be viewed below.

A blog outlining the three key lessons for working with communities beyond the vaccination programme is hosted on the NHS Confederation website.