Bristol Immunisation Group HIT reflects on 2021-22

  • 1st April 2022

Whilst the past year has been extremely challenging for anyone involved in vaccine work, the Bristol Immunisation Group Health Integration Team has been able to meet and share ideas working towards a number of collaborative projects.

From 2021, our focus in working together has been identifying projects where we have overlapping goals. We have been successful in a number of grant funded projects, ensuring that research projects complement rather than compete against each other.

Several team members are focussing on vaccine hesitancy work with Jitsuvax and COMMUNICATE. This is a research study which arose from a completed project on adolescent consent, and involves colleagues from UCL, the University of Bristol, the UK Health Security Agency Immunisation Team, regional Screening and Immunisation Team (SIT) and local immunisation clinical provider as key collaborators. This overlaps with the wider reducing inequalities and vaccine hesitancy work, which is part of the regional and local Clinical Commissioning Group / Integrated Care System and local authority immunisation priority work coordinated at regional level.

Our partnership working and research projects have paved the way for a self-consent process for vaccination to become the standard approach, not just across Bristol but regionally across the south west, resulting in increasing uptake in vaccination. The outcomes have also been presented at national level and have influenced national guidance.

The wider multi-agency collaborative work on understanding and responding to vaccine hesitancy is being taken forward in many different places, including maternity, health care workers and community settings. Much of the inequalities and vaccine hesitancy work has focussed on COVID-19 over the past year, but we have planned a comprehensive evaluation of this work, which will provide learning to apply to the delivery of both routine and future pandemic vaccination programmes.

Nationally, there is a renewed focus on routine immunisation uptake and delivery models, particularly given the loss of World Health Organization MMR elimination status and concerns about coverage of polio vaccine. Work which has already started on both HPV and MMR uptake will be refreshed to ensure that all the collaborative work between partner agencies involved in our HIT is focussed on achieving improvements in uptake and coverage of these programmes as well.