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Informing COVID-19 vaccination centres’ geographical planning

Our dynamic heat maps showed where vaccine uptake was lower, where there was a higher concentration of social care providers and other population analyses by different criteria to inform the planning and placement of COVID-19 vaccination centres.

Background

The Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System (ICS) and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust required support with the planning and rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations across their geography. There was a need to know where to place vaccination sites and direct resources, where the past, current and planned future vaccination sites were, and to evaluate the rollout.

Action

We provided a series of ‘heat maps’ showing areas with the highest proportion of patients at a greater risk of COVID-19 to support the placement of vaccination sites and the direction of resources.

The maps showed analysis of the population by small areas (about 1,500 residents) for the following criteria:

  • Deprivation
  • Population density
  • Proportion of BAME residents
  • Proportion of housebound residents
  • Proportion of obese residents
  • Location of residential and care homes

Regular updates were provided to the maps to include COVID-19 vaccine uptake and current and proposed vaccination centres across the geography.

Using the ‘R’ data science tool, we pioneered a new way of sharing the maps which allowed quick and easy access. Interactivity enabled the vaccination team to zoom in or out and filter information.

Impact

In January 2021, we mapped vaccination centres alongside the 1,253 health and social providers across Birmingham and Solihull. At a crucial point of the vaccine rollout, this enabled the vaccination team to quickly advise providers where their nearest vaccination site was located.

In April 2021, we mapped the residency of patients vaccinated at mass vaccination sites. This enabled the team to see where patients were travelling from to be vaccinated and evaluate whether patient travel distance could be reduced.

In August 2021, we mapped uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine, split by ethnicity and gender, which supported the planning of targeted vaccination vans and sites in areas of lower uptake and with greater health inequalities.

By December 21, the regular map of current and proposed vaccination sites included 66 permanent vaccination sites and 86 sites which mobile vaccination vans had visited.