Businesses invited to enter competition to safely deliver vaccinations

Enterprises across Wales are invited to come up with an innovative way to solve challenges to safely and effectively vaccinate the public as part of the latest Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

Every year, more than one million people across Wales receive a vaccination, including childhood immunisations and flu.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has raised a number of new challenges to vaccination teams, including how to safely vaccinate people who are shielding and keep staff administering vaccinations safe.

To help meet the challenge Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Public Health Wales are calling on businesses to help come up with innovative solutions to support future vaccination programmes.

By taking part, business can access funds from the Welsh Government through the SBRI to make their bright ideas a reality.

Hosted by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, The SBRI Centre of Excellence brings together the healthcare sector and businesses across the UK to work together to solve challenges facing the NHS.

Previous SBRI initiatives include the successful Welsh ambulance rapid sanitisation SBRI in the Spring, which demonstrated cleaning-time cuts by 86 per cent and costs by 82per cent.

The SBRI team in collaboration with Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and NHS Wales are now turning their attention to helping overcome the challenge COVID-19 presents to patients and staff involved in vaccinations.

Bruce McKenzie, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Public Health Wales, said: “Each year the flu season brings significant challenges that must be met using NHS resources to ensure the most vulnerable among us are protected.

“This year sees additional pressures on the Welsh population and on our NHS from the prospect of Covid-19 circulating during the winter months.

“Covid-19 means delivery of vaccinations becomes even more challenging, due to a wider range of persons who are shielding, new social distancing measures, infection control considerations and the potential inclusion of a Covid-19 vaccination.”

Participants are being asked to focus their attention on three key areas where potential improvements have been identified

  • Delivering vaccines (COVID-19 and/or flu) safely and effectively, especially for care home residents and staff.
  • Improving accessibility for recommended groups unable to access traditional vaccination venues.
  • Having a flexible range of venues for NHS and social care staff to be vaccinated outside the workplace.

Businesses have until 12 noon on July 29 to apply for the SBRI challenge, working to a final deadline in mid-September to deliver potential solutions.

Lynda Jones, SBRI Centre Manager, said: “We’re looking for ideas and innovations to help us meet vaccination targets including the COVID-19 vaccination once available. We want to be able to deliver this safely and effectively to all eligible groups during these difficult times.

“We need ideas that can rapidly be developed and tested with potential to be scaled and used across the UK starting in July and to complete no later than September 2020.

Flu season will soon be upon us, and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is urging vulnerable groups and their carers to attend vaccination appointments when invited. As Covid-19 is still in the community, it’s more important than ever that these groups are protected against other diseases.

Care Home workers are also eligible for a free flu vaccination. It is important for the health of your patients, colleagues and yourself that you are protected against Flu this year.

To take part, find out more information here