Luton mosques have been involved in a 2 year study working with Public Health England, NHS England, Maidenhall Primary School, NHS Foundation Trust Essex Partnership University to increase flu vaccination uptake by offering a non-pork based flu vaccine at for school children.

The project initially began in in 2017 gathering evidence about childhood Nasal Flu uptake in Luton which highlighted that in 2015/16, it was as low as 26.8% in comparison to neighbouring local authorities and the national average which were all above 53%. In schools across the Bury Park area of Luton, which has a high concentration of Muslim families, uptake was as low as 10.8% and Maidenahll school had 17.8% uptake.

Year 1: User research in 2017

The objective of the study was to:
– Improve flu vaccination uptake by between 5% and 10%
– Improve parental response rate
– Gain evidence regarding reasons for non-consent, to help understand the barriers to vaccination
Maidenhall school has 700+ pupils on role, of which 638 pupils are Muslim (91%), 92% of pupils have English as an Additional Language, 30% of families speak Pahari (primarily a spoken language) and the school is situated in Bury Park which is a in the top 10% areas of deprivation nationally. The school has 360 children on a safeguarding register (although only 13 are serious cases) and 191 pupils have known medical conditions.
The research highlighted key challenges included the lack of literacy skills in households, incorrect perceptions about flu and lack of awareness of the flu vaccine although the major reason was refusal due to porcine gelatine content (73%).

Year 2: Driving uptake in 2018

A number of techniques were employed including:
  • Improving the design of the Consent Form
  • A pictorial Supplement
  • Family workers ran information sessions
  • Additional parent engagement sessions were held with Imams and mosque representatives involved
  • A DVD was shared with video content explaining the study
  • Vaccination sessions were held at school
Luton mosques presented the following slide at the National Immunisation Conference conference which highlighted improved attitudes to service delivery, how the study had helped overcome access barriers, improve family learning and effectively drove collaboration & family partnership.
The efforts in Year two were effective in driving uptake from 25.3% to 57.4% by offering the injection alternative to the nasal spray.
Full slides were published on PHEs conference summary and are also available to download here.