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Ten lessons from delivering vaccination at scale

A mass vaccination centre was established in the SSE Arena Belfast led by the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust to facilitate the vaccination of up to 6,000 people per day as part of the COVID-19 response.

Nursing, pharmacy, medical, dental, Allied Health Professionals and support staff from across the Trust supported the programme either through temporary redeployment or undertaking additional hours.

As a learning organisation our Quality Improvement Team conducted an evaluation of the Vaccine Team’s effort.

Methodology of Evaluation

The focus of the evaluation was to collate experiences of the team working in the vaccination centre located at the arena to conduct narrative analysis and apply learning back to the organisation.

The methodology had a twofold approach:

  1. a structured online questionnaire that was circulated to all working in the vaccination centre with a response rate of 43% (382 people) responding to this questionnaire and
  2. in-depth interviews conducted with 25 people.

To capture as rich a picture as possible in the evaluation, face to face interviews were conducted with members of staff from a diverse range of roles within the vaccine team.

Organisational Learning

Content conceptual analysis was used to quantify and analyse the themes of the experience of the vaccine programme effort. This information has been collated to shape organisational learning.

One of the most striking themes that emerged from the interviews with staff was their motivation to help, a view that was expressed by all those who were interviewed.

The effort made by the team planning, managing and delivering the vaccine centre was immense and it is crucial that learning is captured for the ongoing vaccine effort but also to influence service design and delivery across all health care settings.

The staff wanted to help colleagues, protect family and friends and play a part in getting the population vaccinated.

Key lessons from setting up the COVID vaccination centre at SSE Belfast Arena

Ten key lessons were highlighted as a result of the impact evaluation.

  • Vision: a shared vision and purpose was the catalyst to the vaccine effort
  • Leadership: clear leadership structures and decision making enabled agile service design
  • Systems Thinking: systems thinking is essential in design of vaccination centre, with focus on flow and the patient journey
  • Communication: importance of a structured communication strategy including daily huddles and feedback loops
  • Recruitment: a timely recruitment process is necessary to build a multidisciplinary vaccine team at pace
  • Rostering: equity in accessibility, availability and management of rostering is important to the vaccine team
  • Environment: consideration must be given to the importance of the environment for people working in an unfamiliar setting
  • Patient Centred: patient centred design of the vaccine centre provided a holistic approach to service delivery
  • Experience: experience of working as part of the vaccine team was formative for student and international workforce
  • Leverage of Skills: organisational opportunity to leverage new skills and expertise gained by staff
Ten Key Lessons Belfast Vaccination Centre Evaluation
Key lessons from setting up the mass vaccination centre at SSE Belfast

The full evaluation report is available on our website.

If you would like to find out more about this project, please contact me or my colleague Sharon Thompson:

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