Jab & Go Initiative: Improving Access, Adherence, and Convenience to Vaccinations

Following World Immunization Week 2024, we continue to champion the theme “Humanly Possible: Immunization for All.” This year marks a significant milestone: the 50th anniversary of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), which highlights the extraordinary achievements in global health through vaccination efforts.

Since its inception, the EPI has grown from targeting six childhood illnesses to encompassing 13 universally recommended vaccines, along with additional vaccines tailored to regional needs.

Source: WHO’s Expanded Program on Immunization

Vaccines stand as one of the most effective public health interventions, preventing millions of deaths each year. As an example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US reports that vaccines prevent an estimated two to three million deaths globally, on an annual basis, from diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles.

However, recent challenges such as COVID-19 have led to disruptions in healthcare services, reallocation of medical resources, and public hesitancy to visit medical facilities. This has greatly impacted routine immunization schedules, leading to an unfortunate rise in unvaccinated populations.

As we observe World Immunization Week, the focus is not only to celebrate past successes but also to address the current challenges so we can work towards overcoming them. These challenges highlight the urgent need to catch up on missed vaccines, particularly in regions experiencing outbreaks of diseases such as measles and polio, which have already seen an alarming resurgence.

For instance, Thailand witnessed a significant measles outbreak in 2019, with hundreds of cases reported mainly in its Southern provinces such as Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat, largely attributed to low vaccination rates in these regions, compounded by factors such as malnutrition and misinformation about vaccines.

At DKSH Patient Solutions, we are actively contributing to this vital mission through the launch of our Jab & Go initiative, striving to enhance access, adherence, and convenience in vaccination services for patients in Thailand.

Jab & Go Program: A Step Towards Accessible Vaccination

The Jab & Go Program is a vaccination initiative offering convenient access to immunization services through mobile stations. Patients can select their preferred vaccination location, whether it be a hospital, clinic, home, or one of our strategically located mobile stations across urban and rural areas. These stations are staffed with certified on-site nurses for administering vaccines and offer emergency support, including ambulances on standby.

Thailand was chosen as the first site for the Jab & Go Program, due to its need to tackle vaccine hesitancy and access. According to a YouGov poll, during COVID-19, there was a rise in anti-vaccine sentiments among Thai youths, and hence a noticeable drop in willingness to vaccinate from 83% to 72% within six months, the reverse of that in other Southeast Asian markets. Additionally, according to UNICEF, in various regions of Thailand, vaccine accessibility is notably uneven, affecting both resident and migrant populations.

Source: YouGov’s Survey of Willingness to be Vaccinated

By rolling out the Jab & Go Program throughout Thailand’s urban and rural areas, we aim to boost public awareness, enhance vaccine accessibility, and ensure a more equitable distribution of health services across different regions within the kingdom. We plan to expand the program to other markets by 2025.

How Jab & Go Works

1. Online Purchase

Patients begin the vaccination process by purchasing e-vouchers for their chosen vaccine on an eCommerce platform. Where necessary, a step to include a doctor’s assessment and prescription can be added. After selecting the vaccine and completing the transaction, patients will receive a digital voucher to proceed with their appointment scheduling.

2. Confirmation of Appointment

Patients can schedule their vaccination by filling out an online registration form and providing essential personal details along with their preferred date and location for vaccination. Once eligibility is confirmed, patients will receive an SMS notification confirming their scheduled appointment.

3. On-Site Vaccination

At the scheduled time, patients will receive their vaccination administered by professional nurses or technicians at their chosen location. Whether at a hospital, clinic, home, or one of our mobile stations, all vaccinations are conducted under strict medical supervision with the highest safety standards.

4. Post-Vaccination Monitoring and Care

After vaccination, patients undergo a brief health monitoring period to ensure there are no immediate adverse reactions. Additionally, we engage in follow-up communication via phone or SMS to help manage any potential side effects and remind the patients of subsequent vaccination appointments.

Why You Should Join the Jab & Go Program

Developed in partnership with clinics and pharmacies, the Jab & Go program aims to enhance the vaccination experience by improving access, adherence, and convenience, with an emphasis on improving convenience for patients.

Increase financial access and price transparency. Unlike the intricate and expensive procedures typically found in local hospitals, which can include extra tests and undisclosed fees, Jab & Go simplifies the vaccination experience by providing transparent pricing. Furthermore, by WHO’s advocacy for ‘Immunization for All,’ Jab & Go implements a subsidized pricing model, effectively lowering the financial barriers and promoting wider access to vaccinations.

Encouraging adherence through regular engagement and patient support.  While local hospitals often face challenges in notifying patients about their annual vaccines or boosters, which often leads to inconsistent follow-ups and missed doses, the Jab & Go program leverages our digital platform (PSPhere) to ensure patients adhere to their vaccination schedules. By setting up automated reminders and follow-up notifications, we keep patients informed of their schedules.

Moreover, our local teams consist of trained professionals who are fully equipped to support our patients effectively, including identifying and reporting any adverse events. Additionally, their ability to communicate in the patients’ native languages helps overcome communication barriers, significantly enhancing patient experience.

Improving convenience in under-served regions. By offering the option to receive vaccinations at hospitals, clinics, homes, or our mobile vaccination hubs strategically located across urban and rural areas, we hope to enhance healthcare accessibility not only within the community but also in underserved areas–where accessing traditional healthcare settings can be challenging.

In many cases, patients in under-served areas face daunting challenges, including long journeys to local hospitals and extended waiting times for appointments. These obstacles often contribute to lower vaccination rates in rural areas. By offering vaccination services in mobile hubs, we strive to attain equitable medical resources for everyone, making the vaccination process more convenient, and accessible for all community members.

By addressing challenges of access, adherence, and convenience, we aim to bridge gaps in healthcare accessibility, particularly in under-served areas. Together with our business partners and through initiatives like Jab & Go, we want to contribute to the global effort of achieving “Immunization for All”.