10. Encouraging uptake and communications
We continue to scrutinise all the data available on vaccinations, including those who did not attend their appointment, often described as a DNA, to better understand concerns or barriers people may have and why they may not attend their appointments. It is important to understand that the number of DNAs simply represents the number of missed appointments and does not therefore represent the number of people who have not been vaccinated. Many of those who are recorded as DNA have in fact been inoculated at a drop-in clinic or their GP or didn't attend at their scheduled time but subsequently rearranged their appointment. In order to counter for this many clinics overbooked to ensure productivity levels remained high and vaccine wastage was kept to a minimum.
A wide range of communications and engagement activity has supported the success of the vaccination programme, delivered through partnership working with the NHS, PHS and other national and local partners.
Paid marketing campaigns have been supported by Public Relations activity, as well as social media and news activity. All of this was predominately to encourage uptake by ensuring all individuals eligible for vaccination had access to the information they need to make an informed choice.
This communications and engagement – complemented by operational outreach to ensure pop-up and drop-in vaccination facilities are available at local locations at convenient times – aims to reach the general population, with tailored messages for specific audiences.
With the seasonal flu campaign underway and as we enter the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign – which includes younger people as well as some who have yet to be vaccinated from the first phase – our communications have been adjusted to reflect these circumstances. We are continuing to reflect the latest clinical advice and look ahead to ensuring the success of the programme is maintained in the months ahead as we aim to maximise uptake of flu and COVID-19 vaccinations.
We have a strong commitment to inclusion, and as well as regular meetings of our Vaccination Inclusive Steering Group over recent months, we have strengthened relationships with African, Caribbean and Polish community groups to better understand the needs of these communities and how best to support more people to take up the offer of vaccination in response to evidence of lower uptake in these populations.
We are continuing to explore incentives – working with partners including the UK Government – to encourage uptake of vaccination, particularly in younger cohorts.
College and university students in Scotland
We have worked with the higher and further education sector to develop guidance to help support and prepare institutions for the new term.
Communication is a key part of encouraging uptake and our social media campaign encouraging students to get vaccinated is now live. Institutions are also being encouraged to work with student representatives to find ways of encouraging uptake. The National Clinical Director, Jason Leitch, and the President of the National Union of Students Scotland, Matt Crilly, have also recorded videos encouraging students to get vaccinated.
Health Boards continue to work with colleges and universities in their area to maximise student vaccine uptake and each college and university has its own single point of contact within the relevant Health Board to enable local student vaccination arrangements to be put in place. International students arriving in Scotland who have not already been fully vaccinated will also be included in the vaccine rollout. Where suitable, vaccination arrangements include 'pop up' sites on campus.
Students who have yet to be vaccinated should register on the NHS Inform website. Alternatively, students can speak to their college or university who will be able to provide details of local vaccination arrangements.
We have also published a vaccinations FAQ on the Student Information Scotland website.