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NHS England and NHS Improvement. National protocols for COVID-19 vaccines. 2021. (accessed 1 June 2021)

Rising to the challenge: a COVID-19 vaccination service for the housebound population

02 July 2021
Volume 26 · Issue 7


The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated innovations in practice in almost all areas of healthcare, not least community nursing services. This article details how one organisation planned and executed a home vaccination programme for housebound members of the population in its remit. It discusses the challenges faced by the team, as well as the key learnings achieved from this programme, which will guide future home immunisation programmes. Implementation of this programme required excellent coordination between clinicians and administrative staff. Importantly, support from the procurement and IT teams and the medicines management committee went a long way in the ironing out of early hiccups and in ensuring smooth running of the programme.

In January 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement issued a standard operating procedure in order to support the safe deployment of the newly available COVID-19 vaccination programme in England. Community nursing services were tasked with developing a home immunisation service for housebound people (NHS England, 2021). This paper outlines how one organisation planned and set up a home-based vaccination service that was delivered by a community nursing team to people in their own homes. National guidelines dictated the eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 vaccinations (NHS England and NHS Improvement, 2021), and the inclusion criteria and national guidelines have been applied throughout the home immunisation programme. Patients already on district nursing caseloads were readily identifiable, and local GPs were able to identify some, but not all, of their patients. The hardest group to identify were patients who did not regularly engage with primary care services and adults with learning disabilities.

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