The NHS said Wednesday that it will expand the NHS app to allow more people to view their vaccination record and book in for vaccines.

NHS England said its new vaccination strategy will outline how getting vaccinations will be made easier than ever before, including through expansion of the NHS App, ‘one-stop shops’ and community outreach. It said “millions” more people will be able to view their full vaccination record and book jabs over the months and years to come.

It also said expansion of the app will include improved access to medical records and provide patients with a “personal history” of potentially life-saving vaccines, such as HPV and MMR.

Improved booking features will include new in-App bookings, invitation alerts and appointment notifications, which NHS leaders said in the statement will make “booking a jab as easy as booking a cab”.

As part of the changes, parents of children and young people will increasingly be able to see the vaccination status of their children on the App and there will be new information and advice on how to book appointments.

Last week marked the anniversary of the world’s first ever Covid-19 vaccination – given to 93-year-old Maggie Keenan in Coventry on the 8 December 2020 – and today’s NHS vaccination strategy builds on the world-leading NHS Covid-19 vaccine programme, which allowed adults to book their own vaccine appointments online, and to get vaccinated in a range of non-NHS settings.

Health and care professionals will focus efforts on going into the heart of communities to protect unvaccinated people who are less well-served by traditional health services – taking vaccines close to people’s homes and offering in-person support to improve vaccine confidence, as well as offering the chance to get a jab.

Creating a “one-stop shop”

Vaccinations will become part of a ‘one-stop shop’ with NHS staff set to expand the offer of blood pressure tests and other health checks and advice, alongside routine vaccinations, while local health teams will have more flexibility to locate vaccine services in convenient local places such as community centres, sport facilities and places of worship.

Around nine in 10 children have had their pre-school immunisations and flu vaccination rates are among the highest in the world, but this new blueprint for vaccination will support even higher uptake rates and bring the NHS closer to eliminating serious diseases like cervical cancer.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS in England noted that the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme has delivered more than 156 million Covid jabs and saved tens of thousands of lives, and that the new vaccination strategy aimed to build on this success.

“Through the NHS app, we’ll make sure booking a jab can be as easy as booking a cab so millions more people can get vaccinated – users will be able to access their full vaccine status in a matter of seconds and book jabs with a simple swipe and tap.”

“And we’ll continue to expand the amazing work of NHS staff, volunteers and partners to introduce even more pop-up sites in the heart of our local communities. So, when you are invited for any of your vaccinations, please do book without delay – it could be lifesaving,” she added.

Over 33 million people are already signed up to the NHS App. Currently, most NHS App users can view their Covid and flu vaccination status via the NHS App, but the NHS will be increasing the visibility of routine vaccine-preventable diseases, making it easier for people to identify any missed vaccinations in their history.

Booking and receiving more than one vaccine in a single visit will also become easier, building on a big year-on-year increase in the number of winter flu and Covid-19 vaccines offered at the same time.

This has been supported by a joint online and telephone booking service and by combined invitations, both for the first time, as part of the current winter vaccines campaign.

Professor Dame Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “The link between uptake rates and vaccine confidence and accessibility is critical and I welcome this renewed focus by NHS England on innovative delivery approaches responding to local need.

“Infectious diseases hit hardest on the most vulnerable and vaccination is a critical tool in reversing health inequalities.”

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, added: “Being able to check which vaccines you or your children have had via the NHS App will be popular with many people, as will the opportunity to book in for a vaccine appointment and get a reminder. These expansions of the App will help patients manage their health.”