CF Product Case Study: The Covid-19 Vaccine Equalities Tool

 

CF’s Data Innovation team worked with NHSE/I to build the Covid-19 Vaccine Equalities Tool, which provides insight into vaccine uptake by cohort, geography, ethnicity and level of deprivation.

This tool provided senior decision makers within NHSE/I with the data and insights required to make decisions on where to focus their efforts on vaccine distribution and behavioural change. The tool draws on event-level data to provide insights at a local level across England.

  • The tool provided the first clear evidence that some ethnicities and areas of higher deprivation had a significantly lower rate of uptake
  • The tool achieved widespread use with more than 2,000 unique users gaining access to it and at peak 300 unique users per week
  • Vaccination rates for people from a Black African ethnic background recorded an increase in uptake from 38% in January 2021 to 70% in May 2021

Inequalities in vaccine uptake

The UK’s Covid-19 vaccination roll-out generated notable success resulting from the speed of vaccine distribution. This speed, combined with the NHS’s commitment to reducing health inequalities, introduced a need to ensure equitable vaccine distribution; however, there was a critical gap in understanding how uptake varied by deprivation, ethnicity and area.

We developed the Vaccine Equalities Tool to identify uptake inequalities at high geographical granularity, using a rich source of event-level data and powerful user interfaces. Our work enabled national, regional, system and local leaders to identify and quantify existing gaps. This informed targeted actions, leading to a more equitable programme.

Approach

The scope of the work was to create a tool to:

  • Create insight into the level of vaccination uptake across the country by priority (JCVI) cohort, ethnicity and deprivation
  • Deploy a tool across multiple user groups across the NHS, including National, Regional and ICS leadership, and with Directors of Public Health in every Local Authority
  • Support local colleagues to understand how to use the tool to identify where uptake inequalities exist and thus make informed decisions around where to direct resource
  • Share best practice on how to target specific population cohorts through communications (maildrops, social media, radio), new sites and culturally appropriate interventions

Solution

The tool draws on event level vaccination data, combined with demographic information for every person living in England. This allowed us to segment vaccination uptake by age, ethnicity and deprivation at a high level of geographical granularity.

Users could select an Integrated Care System from a dropdown and view uptake for a given age cohort split by ethnicity and deprivation. This could be viewed either as a heatmap or a geospatial map, where specific communities with lower uptake could be quickly identified. Moreover, the tool linked to data that refreshed daily, so users could monitor changes in uptake to assess the impact of interventions. 

Throughout the project, CF provided specialist support through our unique combination of consulting expertise, clinical experience and data science capability. This capability enabled us to develop interactive software with embedded sophisticated analysis and to maintain strong engagement with key stakeholders including National, Regional, ICS and Public Health leaders. 

Design

The CF team successfully developed and deployed the Vaccine Equalities Tool (VET) to over 2000 users across the NHS. The tool allows understanding at a granular level uptake by ethnicity and deprivation to enable targeted action, as shown by the figures below.

 

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Figure 1. Heatmap of vaccine uptake
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Figure 2. Hotspotting map of cohort uptake

Impact

This is the first time that this type of tool has been produced in the NHS – connecting national-level activity data with demographic data to allow real-time decision making in how to direct resources to tackle inequalities. Through a partnership with the Office of the Director of Health Inequalities, and by working with the Vaccine Equalities Connect and Exchange Hub, we were able to ensure that regions, systems and local public health leaders could access, use and make decisions based on the information and insights offered through the tool.

Public testimonials

Nadhim Zahawi, Secretary of State for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment wrote how the Vaccines Equalities Tool supported “delivery and deployment at national and local level”, as well as being of use when “working closely with community and faith leaders to champion the vaccine, particularly in areas with low uptake.“ (Source

NHS England and Improvement Board Meeting 25/03/21: “Public health teams have access to this tool, which is a very helpful step forward in data sharing and equipping local areas with the data they need to take targeted action.” (Source)

Awards & recognition

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The Vaccine Equalities Tool won the 2021 Analysis in Government Award for Impact and is currently a two-time finalist for the HSJ Partnership Awards for “Best Healthcare Analytics Project for the NHS” and “Most Impactful Project Addressing Health Inequalities”.

Request a tool demo

Interested in receiving a demo of the tool or want to understand how a similar tool can support you and your teams? If so, please request a tool demo here.