Skip to main content
  1. Home

Week 1: Understanding the vaccination strategy

My first week with the NHS has mostly been getting set up with various systems and accounts, and starting to understand the area I’ll be working in.

One of the major components of the digital prevention services is vaccinations.

Coincidentally, I took my kids to the Science Museum last weekend, and one of the exhibitions we ended up exploring there was Injecting Hope: The race for the COVID-19 vaccine. It was pretty amazing to see the story of how the vaccine was made and administered, and brought back all the memories and feels of that strange time.

Photo of a display case in a museum containing COVID-19 vaccination syringes, stickers and cards.
Injecting Hope: The race for the COVID-19 vaccine

Understandably, the exhibition didn’t really mention the digital services behind the COVID-19 vaccine programme, but I’m sure there’s an interesting story there too.

I’ve been reading the NHS vaccination strategy, and a core part of that is to learn from the success of the COVID-19 vaccine programme and consider how to integrate it with the other longstanding vaccine programmes.

The proposals in that strategy include:

  • helping people understand why they or their families need a vaccination and how to access it
  • improving the experience of booking a vaccination
  • enabling people to access their own vaccine histories

There are a lot of different vaccines to apply these proposals to. One of the first bits of jargon I’ve learnt is ‘section 7A’ list. This refers to the list of services specified in the agreement between government and the NHS, which currently includes 19 separate immunisation programmes.

Achieving this will require a lot of work, from multidisciplinary teams.

The Laura Wade-Gery review, Putting data, digital and tech at the heart of transforming the NHS set out some great recommendations for improving the digital and data services within the NHS, all of which I was pleased to read. It also led to the merger of NHS Digital and NHS England.

There’s a lot for me to get my head around!

Much of this work has already begun, and I was really pleased to join a show and tell at the end of the week, which contained some demos of new services and discussion of new APIs.

I ended the week with a day off to attend a Product for the People unconference. This just so happened to be held in an NHS England building, and I’ve booked an induction in order to be able to work there in future.

The unconference was great, and it was a good chance to discuss some common issues around working on digital products and services, including a debate on the pros and cons of public sector apps, led by the product manager of the NHS app.

A good first week!