Covid-19 vaccination in Zurich - an experience report The medical certificate, on which the "chronic…
Currently, Switzerland has not received a sufficiently high number of vaccine doses. As soon as enough vaccine is available, the pace of vaccination will have to increase significantly. The question then will be how many people are willing to be vaccinated and how easy it will be for them to do so.
This virus will not go away on its own. That is clear. The pandemic can only be contained if a sufficiently large number of people are vaccinated. Currently, Switzerland still lacks a sufficiently high number of vaccine doses to vaccinate the general population. The FOPH’s plan is to offer vaccination to all willing citizens by 30 June 2021. This would require a vaccination rate of over 500,000 doses per week. Due to the shortage of vaccines, hardly any vaccination centres in Switzerland are running at the originally planned capacity. By 17 March 2021, only 433,411 people had been fully vaccinated in Switzerland (as of 17 March, source: FOPH). With the current vaccination rate of just under 150,000 doses per week, it would take until summer 2022 for all willing citizens to be fully vaccinated. The vaccination rate must increase significantly from mid-April 2021. From that point on, the question is how many people will want to be vaccinated and how easy it will be for them to do so.
Two Swiss companies that have been active in the healthcare sector for many years have been working on the Covid-19 vaccination process and the design of vaccination centres. ProcSim, a company based at the EPFL Innovation Park, is a leader in the digital simulation of processes and patient flows in hospitals. walkerproject is the leading consultancy for the healthcare sector in Switzerland. The two companies have joined forces to improve the performance of vaccination processes. Existing concepts of vaccination centres were tested using computer simulation. This resulted in a virtually ideal model. Furthermore, operators of vaccination centres were interviewed in a standardised interview and completed by expert interviews. In a three-part series, we present our results in order to answer the following question: How do we manage to vaccinate those willing to be vaccinated quickly, safely and in a customer-friendly way? In the first part of this series, we address the principles to be followed. In the second part, we discuss the challenges identified for vaccination centres. To conclude our series, we present an efficient and client-friendly vaccination process.
Four principles of a positive vaccination experience
Over the past few months, the cantons have been working to increase their vaccination capacities. This has resulted in a wide range of vaccination centres, including in schools, congress centres, exhibition tents or on ships. High capacities are essential for the pace set by the FOPH. In addition, the willingness to be vaccinated is high. According to the Covid-Norms project, vaccination readiness is at 68% (as of week 10, 2021, source: Covid-Norms). Still, waiting for a vaccine is frustrating. We need to ensure that people can get vaccinated easily as soon as the opportunity arises. In doing so, vaccination should be remembered as a positive experience.
First principle: In the vaccination process, we do not talk about patients, but about clients
The word patient comes from the Latin word patiens and can be translated as “suffering”, “enduring” or “bearing”. People who get vaccinated are not sick. The purpose of vaccination is not to get sick and to protect others. If we accept the people who want to be vaccinated as clients, we deal with them differently. In all forms of communication with clients, the term “patient” should be avoided. Going a bit further, vaccination should be understood as an act of solidarity that deserves high recognition.
Second principle: Customer friendliness means simplicity
The COVID 19 vaccination is voluntary. An important success factor for acceptance is a customer-friendly vaccination process. By client-friendly, we mean the entire process from the client’s point of view. It starts with the registration and ends with the entry in the vaccination card. To a large extent, client-friendliness is expressed in simplicity. Although vaccination is free of charge, clients still pay a price. They have to arrange their everyday life in such a way that the vaccination is associated with as few external and internal (psychological) costs as possible.
For clients, the process should be simple and efficient. It is always clear to them what comes next and makes it difficult for them to make mistakes. Going through a process easily and successfully creates a pleasant experience for the person being vaccinated.
If it is simple for customers, it is also simple for employees. Simplicity allows us to control processes and react to bottlenecks. Staff can always see where clients are in the vaccination process, what questions are still open and what health risks may exist.
Third principle: clients have control over the process and can do as much as possible on their own
Clients should be able to determine as much as possible in the process. They take an active role in the process and do as much as possible before the actual vaccination. Clients are supported as soon as they need help.
Waiting in any form is perceived as external regulation and should be eliminated from the vaccination process if possible. This factor is central to the perception of a positive vaccination experience. Furthermore, clients should be able to register in the way that suits them best. Be it by phone, via an app or via a website. Each person should be able to choose.
Fourth principle: clients are well informed – before vaccination happens
Information and education of clients must be completed before the actual vaccination event. The most important information should be communicated visually and clearly. Clients are well informed in advance. If questions or concerns still arise, it is important to take them seriously and clarify them in a personal conversation.
If these four principles are followed, vaccination will be remembered positively. In the next part of this series, the authors talk about the identified challenges of vaccination centres.