Westminster Health Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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Priorities for improving vaccination uptake and the practicalities for COVID-19 inoculation

Morning, Wednesday, 24th March 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference examines the practicalities for the development and uptake of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination programme - as well as the priorities for improving routine immunisation coverage in the UK.

Areas for discussion include:

  • progress, early lessons and the role of the vaccine in the wider national response to the pandemic
  • development of the COVID-19 vaccine and what can be learned from the innovative methods and processes used to contribute rollout at pace and scale
  • implications for the future of vaccines in the UK and improving routine immunisation coverage in the UK
  • the future role of the UK in global development, rollout and administration of vaccinations

The agenda:

  • Priorities for a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination programme and improving routine vaccination uptake
  • Utilising the latest research and innovative methods to develop the COVID-19 vaccine
  • The regulatory response to the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine development
  • Progress in identifying and reaching priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccine
  • The role of the vaccine in protecting the health workforce and key priorities for supporting the workforce in delivering the vaccination programme
  • Early lessons from the COVID-19 vaccine rollout so far, key practicalities for successful delivery, the role of vaccine hubs, identifying barriers to uptake and tackling misinformation
  • The vaccine as part of the wider pandemic response - practical considerations for amending restrictions and for the long term use of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Maintaining routine immunisation services through the pandemic, priorities for the vaccination strategy, protecting children’s health and supporting primary care in improving vaccination uptake
  • The future for vaccines in the UK and the UK’s role in global development

Why this is relevant - the context:

  • Priority groups for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination:
    • Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation guidance published last year outlining the priority groups for receiving the vaccine
    • subsequent update that recommends prioritising the first dose to as many people as possible over the second dose  
  • UK medicines regulator gives approval for first UK COVID-19 vaccine - MHRA giving approval for the Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines in the UK, following the use of the rolling review regulatory process used for public health emergencies
  • Hospitals to start biggest ever NHS Vaccination Programme - as well as the use of general practice surgeries, sports venues and conference centres for mass vaccination sites
  • GPs given £10 per jab boost to support care home vaccination drive - a drive to vaccinate as many care home residents as possible in January
  • Vaccine Taskforce - established to drive COVID-19 vaccine efforts, and prepare for international distribution, as well as the development of a long term strategy for future pandemics
  • Statement from JCVI on immunisation prioritisation - the JCVI statement during the first wave of the pandemic which raised the importance of maintaining routine immunisation services

Key areas for discussion:

  • the challenge of developing a new vaccine:
    • how were the efforts for the COVID-19 vaccine able to draw upon the latest innovative methods and processes
    • how prepared UK research was to meet this challenge at the pace and scale required
    • what are the next steps for producing and distributing the vaccine on a global scale and what is required to achieve the immunity needed 
  • adapting regulation to keep pace with a pandemic:
    • how has regulation had to adapt and respond to the pandemic, such as the use of the rolling review method, and how this enabled faster approval
    • what can be learned from this process to improve and inform processes outside of public health emergency measures
    • how are safety, standards and quality being ensured, both in terms of assessment and distribution, and ways that the guidance being given is adaptive
  • significance for future vaccines:
    • what the development of the COVID-19 vaccine and the use of new approaches such as RNA mean for the future of vaccines
    • what are the key lessons that can be applied going forward
  • safe and effective delivery of the vaccine:
    • identification of priority groups to receive the vaccine through the use of data modelling
    • the JCVI’s guidance which identifies these priority groups as those in care homes, the health and social care workforce and older people
  • vaccine hubs:
    • their development across the country to administer the vaccine, and coordination with local delivery of the vaccination programme
    • lessons to be learned from mass vaccination centres and utilisation of primary care settings in administering the vaccine within the community
  • maximising the effect of the vaccine - what more can be done, and the potential for combining doses of different vaccines
  • previous flu vaccination programmes - what can be learned that can help inform the planning, management and delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • practicalities of delivering the programme - including identifying and addressing inequalities through the implementation of the programme and using a tailored approach
  • protecting healthcare workers:
    • the role of the vaccination in protecting the health and social care workforce from COVID-19, ensuring safety and enabling continued delivery of care
    • key priorities for supporting the workforce in the delivery of the vaccination programme
  • the vaccine within the wider response to the pandemic:
    • achieving the coverage required in order to remove restrictions and how this can be done safely
    • the potential for vaccine or immunity passports
    • the feasibility of compulsory vaccination and how this could work in settings such as schools
    • maintaining routine immunisation services - the impact of the pandemic and maintaining vaccine uptake with a drop in immunisation rates in comparison to 2019 despite services continuing
  • improving vaccination rates more generally:
    • following the WHO’s removal of the UK’s measles elimination status in 2019 
    • priorities for the delayed 10 year vaccination strategy, which aims to increase uptake across communities
  • tackling misinformation and mitigating the impact on vaccine uptake - as well as the role of national and local public health campaigns in vaccine uptake and immunisation coverage
  • supporting primary care to increase vaccination uptake - looking at:
    • improved reminder systems, and the opportunity that better use of data, working at a place-based level and utilising population health methods presents to increasing local vaccine uptake
  • reaching under-vaccinated communities - such as through the use of immunisation coordinators for hard to reach families, and using local knowledge to develop targeted programmes

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government officials in this area of public policy, together with other stakeholders from across the health sector including industry representatives, pharmaceutical companies, research and development organisations, the life sciences sector, primary care, public health professionals, local health systems, local authorities, executive agencies, regulators, the independent and third sector, patient groups, manufacturers, law firms and consultancies, academics and think tanks, and reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Dr Doug Brown

Chief Executive, British Society for Immunology

Keynote Speaker

Dr Doug Brown

Chief Executive, British Society for Immunology


Helen Donovan

Professional Lead for Public Health, Royal College of Nursing