Delivering the FCDO’s global COVID-19 seasonal booster programme
6 July 2023
In 2022, FCDO Services worked closely with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) Health and Welfare Staff Vaccine Team to complete their overseas rollout of the autumn booster.
In September 2022, the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine to 95 posts began. This was a collaborative programme involving more than 100 FCDO Services staff, including King’s Messengers, staff couriers and working with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and our Australian partners.
As countries increase their efforts to vaccinate their own populations, the majority of posts were able to access local vaccination programmes this time round. This still left a large number of Posts that for various reasons required vaccines to be delivered from the UK.
The programme had to follow UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) handling guidelines and recommendations made by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The JCVI recommended that all adults aged 50 and over should be offered the booster jab. This also included other groups, for example patients in key clinical risk groups and healthcare workers.
FCDO Services expertly ensured the collection and delivery strategy included mechanisms and contingency planning for strict temperature control and potential delays to journeys, all while keeping posts and other stakeholders fully updated.
Key to the successful roll out of the programme was the relationship the Staff Vaccine Team and FCDO Services built with UKHSA. Their ‘deliver together’ approach was a mantra shared by all involved.
The FCDO Responsible Persons team played a vital role authorising the final release of the vaccines. They verified delivery information and made sure that the temperatures they were transported at met the prescribed levels.
Our King’s Messengers, along with staff couriers and the Health and Welfare Medical Team, oversaw the safe handling of the vaccines on arrival in country.
The work of the FCDO Services Vaccine Team didn’t stop there through. They ensured that all the vaccinations were recorded correctly on the National Health Service (NHS) central system in the UK.
The team continues to be in close contact with UKHSA and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on future vaccine programmes.
Many thanks for all the help to get our boosters here. All went super smoothly with the courier logistics. We had a successful vaccination session administered in collaboration with the UN Clinic. As COVID cases were on the rise here again, the boosters were timely and really well appreciated by our team, and those with whom we’ve been able to share the surplus.”
Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy Antananarivo