The month in COVID on nhs.uk: September 2021
This is the first of what I intend to be a monthly series of blog posts outlining what’s happening on nhs.uk in response to COVID-19. I’m the product manager on the NHS website’s COVID Team. We look after the website’s COVID hub. We work closely with other teams and organisations to provide users with the information they need and to signpost them to COVID-19 services when they need them.
This month we have mostly been working on vaccinations.
The month in numbers
During September, there were 6–8 million visits a week to the COVID hub. The most frequently viewed pages were those for booking a vaccination appointment, getting a COVID Pass, when to self-isolate and getting tested.
Overall, there were 6.4 million journeys into 1 of the 18 services that users of the COVID hub are signposted to.
Vaccinations for under 18s
Following announcements about vaccinations for 12–15 year olds, we added content explaining what’s going to happen, and what parents and guardians need to do to get their child vaccinated. (This has since been iterated, which I’ll talk about more in October’s blog post.)
We also clarified content for 16–17 year olds, making it clearer that most will only get 1 dose of the vaccine, not 2.
See Who can get vaccinated for more.
We published new content about booster vaccinations: who is eligible, how to get them and which vaccine you will get. We did this to coincide with eligible people being able to book a booster dose appointment on Book a coronavirus vaccination.
We also linked this new page and the flu vaccination page. Many of the people who are eligible for the free flu jab are also eligible for the COVID-19 booster, and it’s important they know it’s OK to have both at the same time.
Walk-in vaccination sites
We heard from several walk-in vaccination sites that people were showing up outside their opening times, and were being turned away disappointed. To help reduce this we deployed an update to Find a walk-in vaccination site.
The action link on the search results page now says ‘See opening times and available vaccines’ instead of ‘View more information about this site’. We did this to encourage more users to view the sites’ profiles where the opening times are displayed.
It worked! The clickthrough rate from the search results page to site profiles increased from 32% to 48% as a result of this change. Now more users are viewing sites’ opening times and (fingers crossed) going to them when they are open.
Clinically extremely vulnerable and shielding
Following the end of the shielding programme in England, we removed references to ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ people across the COVID hub. We still have advice for people for people who are at higher risk.
New team members
This is perhaps the most important news of the month. Dan (delivery manager), Maria (service designer) and Eve (content designer) joined our team. This means we are now 6 people and we’ve filled all the positions that we think we need to do the work we are here to do.
What we’re doing next month
I can’t share everything that we’re currently working on because some of it is sensitive, but here’s what I can tell you:
- We’ve started work on a redesign of the vaccinations topic hub. We’ve audited our existing content and mapped existing journeys. We’re collecting survey responses and scheduling interviews with users. Next month, I hope to be able to tell you about the positive changes we’ve made following prototyping and user testing.
- We’re discussing the future of Find a walk-in vaccination site (also known as ‘Grab a Jab’). This service was developed quickly and was initially intended to only be around for a few weeks. But it turned out to be very popular, useful and effective, so it would be a shame to take it down. If we want to retain it we need to iterate it, and that means putting in place a team to manage it.
- And we’ll no doubt be updating content as the clinical advice and health policy for COVID-19 changes.