Incentive schemes that prioritise certain vaccinations could have ‘unintended consequences’ on the uptake of other jabs, a new NICE guideline has warned.
The guidance also recommended that GPs should update patient vaccine records within two weeks and ‘validate’ records ‘at least monthly’.
The new NICE guideline on vaccine uptake in the general population, published in May, said that regional and local commissioners of NHS vaccination services should ‘take into account’ the impact of any incentive schemes.
It said: ‘When designing incentive schemes for providers, take into account that using incentives to prioritise certain vaccinations could have unintended consequences on the uptake of other vaccinations.’
It added that the guideline committee ‘expressed concern that targets for some vaccinations may inadvertently result in those vaccinations being prioritised over other, non-targeted, vaccines’.
It said: ‘By highlighting these considerations, the committee thought that commissioners and providers should be able to develop ways to mitigate any reductions in the uptake of non-incentivised vaccinations that are detected using local uptake data.
‘These could involve reminding professionals about the importance of other non-incentivised vaccinations.’
The guideline also recommended that there should be further research on ‘what is the effectiveness and acceptability of giving incentives to providers to increase immunisation rates in the UK’.
Meanwhile, the guidance also recommended that ‘GP practices should ensure that their vaccination records are updated within two weeks (or as specified in the GP contract if shorter) in response to new information about a person’s vaccination status’.
Child health information services (CHIS) should give GP practices a monthly update (or as specified in the CHIS contract if shorter) on children who are not up to date with their jabs, it said.
NICE added that its committee agreed that a two-week time limit was a ‘realistic timeframe for this work given the competing demands for time in GP practices’.
The guideline also said practices should ‘validate their vaccination records at least monthly against data sources received’, with a named vaccination lead to take responsibility for this.
‘Check registered populations and vaccine eligibility and status, investigate any discrepancies and correct the record accordingly,’ it said.
It added: ‘Regular validation of vaccination records against other sources by GP practices will lead to an increase in workload initially.
‘However, once the current records have been checked, this workload would be expected to drop to a lower level because fewer discrepancies would be found.’
The guidance said: ‘Vaccination coverage needs to be actively maintained, and ideally increased, in the face of increasing vaccine scepticism and misinformation.’
It added: ‘Reasons for low uptake may include poor access to healthcare services; inaccurate claims about safety and effectiveness, which can lead to increased concerns and a reduction in the perceived need for vaccines; and insufficient capacity in the healthcare system to provide vaccinations.
‘In addition, problems with the recording of vaccination status and poor identification of people who are eligible to be vaccinated may have contributed to low uptake.’
‘Additional or different’ measures may be needed to increase vaccination rates in certain groups with lower levels of uptake such as Travellers, Gypsy and Roma, refugees and asylum seekers, the guideline said.
The guidance does not cover seasonal vaccinations such as flu, Covid vaccinations, travel vaccines, selective immunisation programmes or areas covered by other guidelines such as on tuberculosis.
As previously published in our sister title, Pulse
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