Future Health publishes new study on adult vaccination rates and health inequalities

Future Health today publishes research that looks at the relationship between adult vaccination uptake and health inequalities. The research analyses the uptake rates of five adult vaccinations across England, including the COVID-19 and flu vaccinations and maps rates to levels of deprivation as classified by the Index of Multiple Deprivation.

The research was sponsored by Pfizer but with Future Health having independent editorial control and you can read the full report here: Future Health vaccine report V4a

The headline findings are:

  • The highest rates of uptake for adult vaccinations are generally recorded in the South East
  • The lowest rates of uptake for adult vaccinations are generally recorded in London and parts of the North West
  • For Covid 19 and seasonal flu the areas with the highest recorded uptake rates are more likely in the least deprived areas; by comparison areas with the lowest uptake rates are over-represented in the most deprived areas
  • For the shingles, whooping cough and PPV vaccine, the majority of the local authorities with the lowest uptake rates are to be found in the lower quintiles of the Index of Multiple Deprivation
  • Looking at the wider impact of vaccination, areas with higher rates of GDP per head were over-represented in those areas recording higher rates of adult vaccination and local authorities with the highest overall adult vaccination rates most commonly also record lower proportions of workless households
  • There was no clear link between the rates of adult vaccination and the number of carers in an area
  • Across the five adult vaccinations analysed if those areas in the lowest two quintiles could be ‘leveled-up’ to the bottom of the middle quintile, an extra 1.1 million course of vaccination would be delivered in England for adults

The report proposes a 12 point plan for tackling variation in adult vaccination and improving uptake rates.

Vaccination strategy 12 point plan

  • Setting new targets for uptake rates within the Government’s planned vaccination strategy
  • Piloting vaccine incentives to improve uptake rates amongst populations and communities where vaccine rates are lower
  • Including new incentives on adult vaccination within the Quality and Outcomes Framework in primary care
  • Increasing the knowledge, capability and capacity of the public health and primary care workforce; including a larger role for community pharmacy in adult vaccination programmes
  • Embedding vaccination information easily within the NHS App and creating a public facing version of the ‘green book’ for adult vaccination
  • Reviewing the value of vaccination and how vaccines are assessed to include their wider economic and social value
  • Increasing access to vaccines through the use of mobile units and community based vaccination sites
  • Expanding the COVID data dashboard to include a wider set of adult vaccinations to track progress on uptake
  • Working in partnership with local government and community leaders to build trusted communications programmes
  • Providing additional resource to London to carry out more regular needs assessments of population given the mobility
  • Unlocking the potential of vaccination as a gateway to wider health improvement
  • Ensuring new emerging system structures across the NHS and public health work are stable and set-up to deliver effective vaccination programmes

Richard Sloggett, Programme Director of Future Health said:

There are a number of reasons which could explain this vaccine hesitancy especially among Londoners. The Covid-19 vaccine programme revealed a particular scepticism towards vaccination among ethnic minorities and religious groups, pregnant women and people in particular occupations. There is also a strong correlation between people not being jabbed in more deprived communities. While clearly a number of these factors are present in cities across the UK, they are even more prevalent in the Capital.”

Encouraging the uptake of different vaccines, especially among those who have previously been hesitant, is going to become increasingly important to how we tackle other healthcare conditions. The Government’s vision for cancer includes a focus on the development of new cancer vaccines; new vaccinations for flu and hospital acquired infections are also in the pipeline. Ensuring the widest access to these needs to be a central policy objective for the Government’s planned post Covid vaccination strategy.”

Richard has written for the Times Red Box on the findings: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/covid-vaccines-are-still-essential-even-as-restrictions-end-hr286cct5

The report was covered in the Express and the Politico Playbook newsletter: https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1581882/londoners-worst-uk-vaccinated-jabs/amp