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Pregnancy vaccination service on track for award

22 June 2022


A ‘fast track’ vaccination service at the James Paget University Hospital which helped protect pregnant women from COVID-19 has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

The hospital’s maternity department, working with colleagues from the Norfolk and Waveney CCG, developed the service in the summer last year.

It was set up during a national drive to encourage more pregnant people - who are at increased risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19 - to come forward for their vaccination.

All pregnant women invited to the hospital for their 20 week ultrasound scan were given the opportunity to have their COVID vaccine in the same visit - saving them a return trip - and were provided with detailed information about the jab with their scan invitation.

Those choosing to have the vaccine were ‘fast tracked’ to the hospital’s vaccination centre, with no need to book an online appointment.

Once at the centre, they handed over a ‘fast track’ card to the vaccinators, to let them know they had been sent by the maternity team, and received their jab.

A senior member of the maternity team was available at all times to support women and their families attending the vaccination hub, at the hospital’s Louise Hamilton Centre.

Establishment of the clinic led to a 20% increase in COVID-19 vaccine uptake among pregnant women attending the James Paget.

As a result, the service has now been shortlisted for the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patient Safety Awards 2022, in the Maternity and Midwifery Initiative of the Year Category.

Our photograph shows Kirsty Cater and Kate Keeling standing with a white trolley containing vaccination kit.

Our photograph shows Kirsty Cater, JPUH Head of Midwifery and Gynaecology Services (left) and Kate Keeling, Head of Immunisation NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).


JPUH Head of Midwifery and Gynaecology Services Kirsty Cater, who was instrumental in setting up the fast track service, said:

“I am absolutely delighted that we have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award.

“From the outset, we wanted to make sure that as many pregnant women as possible had the opportunity to protect themselves and their babies from COVID-19 at a time when analysis showed that more than 90% of expectant mothers in hospital with the virus were unvaccinated.

“To do this, we developed a simple process that made it easy for pregnant women to get their jab by removing obstacles and providing them with all the information they needed to make an informed choice.”

Kate Keeling, Head of Immunisation NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:

“We are delighted to hear that we have been shortlisted for a HSJ award.  This project has been a team effort from the very start. We knew that pregnant people were vulnerable and at risk of COVID-19, therefore by working with various teams and listening to our local communities, we set up our ‘fast track’ programme.  Our aim was to ensure that no one was left behind. We look forward to the results and congratulate the other nominees.”

In addition to the fast-track vaccination clinic, a system wide Question and Answer session was also held late summer to encourage more pregnant people to come forward for their COVID-19 vaccination. The session was well attended and included professionals from public health, primary care and Norfolk and Waveney CCG’s lead midwife. In a drive to go even further, the video and summary of the event was translated into the top 10 spoken languages across Norfolk and Waveney to reach as many people as possible to encourage vaccination uptake.

The fast track vaccination clinic will be up against seven other initiatives in the Maternity and Midwifery Initiative of the Year category, with a final round of judging due to take place later this summer ahead of the awards ceremony on 15 September.