Immunise Scotland has become the latest NHS Health Scotland work programme to join Twitter. @NHSImmuniseScot will provide topical and timely information on the vaccines offered in Scotland across the life course to professionals across health, education and the third sector. It will also update a wide range of stakeholders on vaccine service delivery change under the Scottish Government’s Vaccine Transformation Programme (VTP).

Immunisation is one of the most cost-effective ways to protect Scotland's population against serious illnesses and diseases, and improve public health.  Scotland has a world-class immunisation service with high uptake rates across a range of vaccinations, including HPV for young women and those offered during childhood.

However there is evidence of under vaccination, or vaccine hesitancy, in some groups and within certain immunisation programmes such as flu and shingles. Building information that is searchable and which can educate and reassure the public are specific objectives of the Immunise Scotland Twitter account.

Jessica Munshaw, Senior Health Improvement Officer at NHS Health Scotland, said:

“We know that vaccines work. They have led to a huge decrease in diseases and deaths, which is helping to reduce health inequalities. It’s important that the public receives clear and accurate information to help address hesitancy in being vaccinated.”

The Scottish Immunisation Programme aims to improve access to vaccination services for different population groups in communities. Vaccination service delivery is changing through the VTP, which will see responsiblity for vaccines move from primary care to NHS Boards and Health & Social Care Partnerships, in line with the need to continue to positively influence vaccine behaviour across the life course.

Heather Williams, Health Improvement Manager at NHS Health Scotland, said:

“As a result of the redesign of vaccine services, we want to support stakeholders to understand of the vital importance of vaccination as a public health issue. We will use Twitter alongside our regional stakeholder events to increase knowledge, generate ideas of how to improve access to services, and raise awareness of the importance of maintaining uptake levels during the changes.”