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National booking service
We're providing systems that enable people to book coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination appointments at vaccination centres and community pharmacies.
About the national booking service
We're providing systems that enable people to book coronavirus vaccination appointments at vaccination centres and community pharmacies across England.
The national booking service is made up of 3 parts:
- an online booking service available to the public on the NHS website - the Book a coronavirus vaccination service
- an appointment management system for staff working at vaccination centres and community pharmacies offering coronavirus vaccinations - Q-Flow
- an app for checking people in to their appointments when they arrive at vaccination centres - the Check a vaccination appointment app
There is also a telephone service for people who can not or do not want to use the online booking service. This is run by NHS England. The phoneline operators use the Book a coronavirus vaccination service on behalf of callers.
Local solutions are in place, in addition to the national booking service, to enable hospital hubs and primary care networks to offer appointments to patients.
Primary care networks can choose from an assured selection of appointment management systems through the Digital Care Services Framework (GPIT Futures).
1. Online booking service
The booking service will accept appointment bookings from people who have received a letter from the NHS, through the national service, asking them to book.
Users provide their NHS number which is used to check they are eligible, and which helps make sure information about their vaccination is saved to their medical records.
Users book two appointments, 11-12 weeks apart, as recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCCVI).
The service sends users a booking confirmation, by text message or email, which they take to the vaccination centre when they go to their appointment.
The service also allows people to amend or cancel their appointments if they need to.
2. Q-Flow appointment management system
Q-Flow is used by staff working in vaccination centres and community pharmacies offering vaccinations. It is linked to the online booking service.
A staff member creates a vaccination centre on the system by entering the name and location of the centre, and accessibility and transport information.
They then create calendars for the centre, and add appointment slots. These appointments appear on the Book a coronavirus vaccination service for people to search and book.
The appointments can be booked by anyone who has been sent a letter and is eligible to book. They are not restricted to particular groups such as staff members.
Staff can also use Q-flow to change appointment availability and cancel booked appointments.
Find out how to set up centres, create, amend and cancel appointments and provide staff user accounts.
3. Check a vaccination appointment app
When someone arrives at a vaccination centre for their booked appointment, staff who have been authorised to use the check-in app will:
- search for the appointment on the system using the booking reference or name and date of birth
- confirm whether the person attending the appointment is eligible to be vaccinated
- either mark the appointment as 'checked in' or 'rejected'