Slough Borough Council has supported a local partnership, involving the fire service and school immunisation team, to run pop-up vaccination clinics.
What was done?
The first mobile clinic was run in late 2018 from the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s outreach van. It visited a leisure centre and supermarket to encourage primary school children who had not yet been vaccinated against flu to be immunised. The service was staffed by the school immunisation team, run by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BHFT), along with fire brigade officers and supported by the council’s health public health team. The clinics had a mixture of bookable appointments and walk-ins. Ahead of the event, there was a lot of marketing and promotional work, which involved engaging with the local press and radio as well as using social media.
Around 100 children were vaccinated at the two sites, as well as fire safety and oral health messages.
BHFT Health Inequalities Nurse, Nicky Smith, said: “It provided a great opportunity to reach out to those groups we were not reaching. We know in Slough we have lower uptake rates for lots of vaccines than elsewhere in Berkshire and across England.
“We used data to pinpoint which locations we felt we could have most impact in – areas with low rates of uptake and high footfall. The beauty of this sort of initiative is that the staff have the time to spend chatting with people about the concerns they have and explain about the importance of vaccination. “The outreach vehicle helps us gain better understanding of people’s attitudes towards vaccinations and an opportunity to work with the concerns of the different groups within Slough’s diverse community.”
What else is happening?
The project has been supported by the wider Slough Immunisation Partnership, chaired by public health, which involves seven organisations in total including NHS England, the voluntary sector, the local CCG and BHFT. Following on from the success of the mobile clinic, the partnership has been considering ways to build on what has been achieved. There will be more mobile flu clinics this winter – with consideration being given to extending these pop-up clinics to other vaccines in the future.
Meanwhile, a six-month research project was carried out earlier this year looking at what barriers families faced in terms of other childhood vaccinations; such as MMR. The research involved surveying more than 1,600 families and doing some in-depth work with focus groups.
Slough Public Health Senior Programme Officer, Tim Howells, said: “The work has given us some really rich data about people’s attitudes towards health, including some of the reasons why we have lower vaccination rates. We have been able to stratify it by ward, ethnicity and gender.
“One of the clear messages was that there are still some real myths around vaccinations – things we thought we had tackled a decade ago. So we know we have to do some work around that.
“The work with the fire service to run the mobile clinic, also shows the importance of opportunistic community work. It is something we are looking at for other vaccines.”
Public Health Senior Programme Officer
Slough Borough Council