Enabling Covid-19 vaccinations in Care Homes and the community

17/11/2020 10:17

Enabling Covid-19 vaccinations in Care Homes and the community

We heard last week the welcome news that the NHS is preparing to roll-out Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccination before Christmas if it is deemed to be safe and effective. The UK has also bought 5 million doses of a second vaccine from Moderna which has 95% positive results in trials.

Phase one of the immunisation programme is to give the Pfizer vaccination to older adults in care homes and care workers, those over 80, health and social care workers and people classed as 'clinically extremely vulnerable'. Following this, will be the over 75s, then over 70s and so on.

But the logistical and technical challenges of delivering the programme quickly and safely are huge.

The operational challenges

The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept in special freezer boxes at -70 degrees so transport and storage will be complex.

Immunisation centres need to be set up in the community and run 7 days a week. GPs are being given £150m for the roll-out and there is discussion about the army helping with operations. Some clinics will have to be undertaken in Care Homes and, for the most clinically vulnerable, home visits may be necessary.

The technical challenges

GP federations and Primary Care Networks (PCNs) across a region may be required to work together and they will need to overcome plenty of operational and technical hurdles.

GP practices in a region often use different GP systems for providing and managing patient records, so keeping these systems up to date with Covid-19 vaccination outcomes recorded by clinicians in the community will be technical challenge.

Maintaining paper records which are then used for updating the GP system after clinics creates a manual burden on teams who are already stretched to capacity. It also introduces significant inefficiencies and safety risks.

Each individual who receives the Pfizer vaccination will require a second dose 3 weeks later so it's important the process is streamlined and efficient. Ensuring public confidence and trust in the programme's delivery, safety and security measures will be absolutely key.

Turning to digital

A digital solution similar to that used for delivering childhood vaccinations for flu, HPV, DTP and Meningitis will be essential to meet the challenges of rolling out the Covid-19 immunisation programme with speed, efficiency and safety.

Proven digital immunisation system

RIVIAM’s immunisations service - which has been used for delivering children’s vaccinations across the South West since 2017 - provides PCNs with a secure, digital system and a mobile (iPad or Android) application which any authorised person can use in any location, whether this is a Care Home, a person’s house or immunisation centre, to give people the Covid-19 vaccination.

Seamlessly and efficiently, clinicians can access all the patient’s information and history securely on their device in the community. Clinics and appointments can be undertaken regardless of internet connection.

Critically, it won’t matter which GP system the person is registered on, RIVIAM will be able to automatically update their record. RIVIAM’s interfaces with GP systems mean vaccination outcomes entered by clinicians on their device will be automatically updated in the person’s GP record whether this is on TPP SystmOne™ or EMIS Web.

The app supports the recording and management of dual vaccinations which will be essential for the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination to be as effective as possible.

RIVIAM can generate the required outputs for the recently introduced NHS National Immunisations Vaccination System (NIVS) or other file formats.

Help for PCNs

We're already having conversations about how we can help with the roll-out of this important Covid-19 vaccination programme. We can help PCNs meet the challenges with our digital system and are keen to help.

Read our paper on Enabling Covid-19 vaccinations in Care Homes and the community with RIVIAM’s proven mobile vaccinations app and digital immunisations system

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