The NHS has published a new “vaccine strategy” which proposes its staff should attend school parents’ evenings in a bid to reach those it terms “vaccine hesitant” following a ten-year decline in the number of children receiving all recommended jabs.
The report sets out aims to “make vaccination the business of everyone working in patient-facing roles” and proposes that unregistered staff should be allowed to administer injections.
The strategy has been published following a ten-year decline in the uptake of the MMR jab and most other vaccines on the recommended childhood schedule in the wake of ongoing concerns around the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 jabs.
“Nationally, we have seen a ten-year decline in pre-school immunisation and coverage”, the document states, before going on to recommend the digitizing of children’s personal health records in a bid to keep track of who has been vaccinated.
“We will explore how we can use the NHS app to join up user journeys for adults, children and young people, including access to vaccination records,” the report states.
“In 2024—2025, we plan to create a national vaccination data record (…) and work with other governmental bodies, including the UKHSA, to increase collaboration and data sharing at a national level.”
Launching the strategy, NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said, “Through the NHS app, we’ll make sure booking a jab can be as easy as booking a cab so millions more people can get vaccinated—users will be able to access their full vaccine status in a matter of seconds and book jabs with a simple swipe and tap.”
The strategy will involve increasing the availability of vaccine appointments for all, through “roving and pop-up” services to administer jabs in “trusted environments” such as community and faith centres, offering out-of-hours appointments and more in-school availability and offering “catch-up” services for those who have not had recommended inoculations.
All vaccines in the UK are optional with none mandated for school or university attendance, unlike in the United States and some European countries. There is no suggestion in the report that this will change, but concerns have been raised by parents and medics about the level of coercion and intrusion into private medical decisions proposed by the report.