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Part of Coronavirus programme updates, 17 May 2021

Supporting delivery of vaccinations

We're working to provide data, analysis and infrastructure to support the delivery of vaccination programmes and facilitate post-vaccination monitoring.


We're working to provide data, analysis and infrastructure to support the delivery of vaccination programmes and facilitate post-vaccination monitoring.

Appointment booking

National Booking Service

We have enhanced the national Book a coronavirus vaccination service on 13 May to reflect changes in guidance on use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in people younger than 40 and to enable pregnant women to book a vaccination. The service continues to be optimised on a day-to-day basis to support emerging priorities (for example. acceleration of vaccination in areas with higher prevalence of new variants of concern. Book a coronavirus vaccination

We have more than doubled the system capacity to ensure service remains performant during the large peaks in demand that have occurred as younger cohorts become eligible for vaccinations.

As of 17 May, the service has been used to book around 20.7 million appointments at NHS vaccination centres and community pharmacies (bookings into PCNs and hospital hubs are currently managed directly by those providers). The service is also used to check patients into these vaccination sites and to manage appointments.

Call and Recall Service

We continued to manage service that sends vaccination invitations to eligible citizens and issues reminders to people who have not attended or booked appointments. Following a successful pilot, text messages are now the primary means of communicating with citizens. As of 13 May, 27.8 million invitations had been issued through letters (17 million), letters and texts (5.9 million), and texts (5 million).

Data analysis

Monitoring adverse reactions 

Our NHS Pathways team is analysing data from calls to 111 to assess the likely impact of post-vaccination symptoms on the demand for health services. The analysis focuses on triages that record a vaccination event reported by the patient, and examines the symptoms commonly reported following vaccination (for example fever, headache, unexplained bruising). The analysis shows trending for both symptoms and dispositions (recommended action) and has provided an important, quantifiable indicator of the likely impact on health services from side effects following COVID-19 vaccination

At the request of our partner organisations, these data are now being provided each week to the Integrated Urgent Care team in NHS England and to the UK Chief Medical Officers. 

Communication infrastructure


We have worked closely with NHS England and telecommunications suppliers to ensure that fixed connectivity, WiFi and back-up 4G connections are available for vaccination centres, primary care sites and community pharmacies. As of 17 May, NHS Digital had facilitated procurement and overseen installation of communication infrastructure to 138 sites with work underway with a further 8 site.

We have started gathering data on longer-term requirements and strategy for vaccination sites to enable planning for ongoing connectivity and contractual arrangements.

We have successfully assured decommissioning of the first vaccination site to be returned to original use on 23 April  - Nonsuch Mansion

Data quality

Data and dashboards

We have continued to provide assurance over completeness and quality of vaccination data. Data quality dashboards are used to proactively identify issues including timeliness of data entry and data flows, accuracy of data entry and missing information.

We have continued to operate a data quality helpdesk to support clinical and administrative staff, including general practice staff, hospital vaccination service managers and staff managing NHS vaccination hubs.  

Strategic planning

Supporting future vaccination campaigns

We have been working with NHS England’s COVID Vaccination and Flu Vaccination teams to define technical and data deliverables required to support emerging plans for Autumn/Winter 2021vaccination campaigns.

We have Initiated strategic planning to investigate how to leverage the technical infrastructure established for COVID-19 Vaccination for wider benefit.

Last edited: 19 May 2021 12:27 pm