Skip to main content

New partnership streamlines COVID-19 autumn 2023 booster campaign

16 October 2023

A partnership between Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW) and Vaccination Programme Wales has streamlined delivery of the COVID-19 autumn 2023 booster campaign.

The Welsh Immunisation System (WIS) was developed in-house by DHCW at the start of the pandemic. It is the central digital system that’s supported the administration of over 9.2 million COVID-19 vaccinations to date.

Health Boards use WIS to identify eligible cohorts, plan where vaccines are administered, schedule appointments and send out invites. Vaccinators use the system to record all COVID-19 vaccines administered and pharmacy colleagues record vaccine stock levels and locations. The system also allows flu vaccines co-administered alongside a COVID-19 vaccination to be recorded.

Over the past year, DHCW has been working closely with Vaccination Programme Wales in addition to partners including Welsh Government, health boards and trusts. The programme was established by the NHS Wales Executive as part of Welsh Government’s National Immunisation Framework for Wales. The NHS Wales Executive is a new national support function that aims to drive improvements in the quality and safety of care in Wales.

This close partnership has led to a streamlining of the latest autumn 2023 booster campaign. The flow of data has improved, with planning assumptions for future campaigns now being shared with DHCW at the earliest opportunity. This allows sufficient time for system changes to be tested, with any bugs identified and fixed before an update is rolled out to health boards. 

Individual requests from health boards for changes to WIS are now filtered through Vaccination Programme Wales, rather than individually to DHCW. The Community Applications team responsible for managing WIS can configure the system at a once for Wales national level.

Joshua Hunt, Community Applications Service Owner at DHCW, said: “WIS is at the heart of the success of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Wales. The work that the Community Applications Team have done to not only deliver but iteratively improve on WIS has been excellent. Processes have been put in place that ensure we have appropriate governance of software requirements but also greater partnership working with NHS Executive. The clear value that this DHCW developed product provides to both the wider NHS Wales and Welsh citizens is a source of great pride.”

Clare Williams, Vaccine SRO at NHS Wales Executive, said: “WIS is vital to how in Wales we plan, deliver and report on our COVID-19 vaccination campaign.  COVID-19 vaccination is far from a stable, repeatable service model; each campaign we have delivered together has had different parameters and challenges. In meeting those challenges in partnership, I’d like to thank all the DHCW teams involved in maintaining and delivering WIS, for their enthusiasm and commitment to continuously improving the WIS offer for Wales.”

Additional investment in test automation by the Community Applications team at DHCW has led to a reduction in the time taken to run system tests ahead of applying a change. It means multiple tests can be run at the same time, in quick succession and repeatedly. This has resulted in greater confidence from health boards in the stability of the system and a reduction in the time taken to implement changes such as new vaccines becoming available.

For more information on eligibility for the COVID-19 autumn 2023 booster and contact details for each health board, please visit the Public Health Wales website.