How to Contact an Entire Nation– The COVID-19 Immunisation Campaign

The current pandemic has posed significant issues for the world, and has significantly affected the way that our day-to-day lives operate for over a year. Fortunately, the development of several vaccinations has allowed for the support of immunisation against Covid-19. With a clear need to vaccinate citizens across
England, this brought further complications of how to contact citizens across the country. That’s where we came in to support.

At Synertec, we were commissioned by NHS South, Central and West to support both the winter flu vaccination programme and the current national COVID-19 vaccination campaign to communicate to citizens nationwide. The trust that was placed in us to undertake such a task was not taken lightly, and we
are honoured that we were chosen to support this unique and highly important campaign. Our communications solution provides the NHS Immunisation Management Service with an effective way to create and manage hybrid communications to be sent to eligible citizens across England. The capacity at Synertec meant that normal business could remain unaffected whilst also undertaking the significant volume of documents required for the campaign.

Our state-of-the-art production facilities in both Bristol and Warrington enabled for large volume output, while also having a contingency plan of rerouting documents from one site to another automatically, should the unlikely event of an external disruption take place. Our ability to receive large amounts of data was truly important for the success of this campaign, combined with our capacity to manage the high volume sending of letters/leaflets and SMS messages. The flexibility of our solution meant that, whether physical or digital, we could effectively deliver the communications to citizens across England on behalf of the NHS. For the physical communications, these eventually took the form of the now widely recognised blue envelopes, containing the necessary information to proceed with the vaccination process. The invitations were sent out in cohorts, focusing on the over 65 age range first, beginning with the most elderly. The focus was then on the clinically extremely vulnerable, and then worked through the age ranges, in line with JCVI guidance. Subsequent reminders were sent via both communication methods to increase awareness of a citizen’s eligibility to receive the vaccine. We also sent out prompts to those who had received the 1st dose, but had not booked their 2nd dose, to ensure that they can be fully vaccinated.

In total, Synertec have sent 77,203,624 letters to patients across the country for the COVID and Flu communications. For COVID, this included the initial invitation to book a vaccine, a prompt for some to have their 2nd dose if it was not booked, and also reminders to let citizens know that they are able to book their COVID vaccine, but may have otherwise missed the first letter. For the Flu vaccination, this covered the necessary steps to book their Winter Flu vaccination. In addition to our physical mailing, we sent out SMS messages to patients that were eligible to receive their vaccine. This included the initial invitation, prompts for their 2nd dose if it was not booked, reminders, and also focuses on geographical areas that were seeing a spike in cases, to help combat the issue. Our SMS messages began to be sent in March 2021, and since then, a total of 54,001,846 SMS messages were sent to patients in England.

Here at Synertec, we are very proud to have been involved in such a campaign. As with our company values, we believe in integrity, accountability and openness. Our support in a campaign of this scale helped us to demonstrate these values in supporting such an important service for the NHS, while working tirelessly to
support our existing customers, ensuring that we could provide support and as best we can. In line with our culture and values at Synertec, we believe that there is no job too big or too small, and it has been important for us to effectively communicate and offer our support in any way possible during this pandemic. Our work with over 150 NHS Trusts, Local Government Authorities, Housing Associations and commercial businesses to deliver outbound communications is very important to us, and we are constantly looking for new ways to support in all areas. Whether it be our Hybrid mail and digital communications of SMS, Email, Patient Communication Hub, we are constantly developing and improving our service to benefit both our customers and citizens across the nation.
Upon reflecting on what has been a strange, but interesting year, we can feel proud of the significant work that was undertaken throughout this campaign. The hard work from every single member here at Synertec has been pivotal in both the campaign and the company’s success, so it is important to take this time to
thank our people. We also see this as the perfect opportunity to reiterate our ongoing support for now and the future to all of our customers.

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