Guide and Frequently Asked Questions

What is new in VMS?

To keep up to date with latest news on VMS for please go to FAQ’s on primary care intranet.

New Release 20 February 2021

  1. Vaccinator Field added 20/02/21
  2. GP Report available from 20/2/21 – this report is refreshed daily at 5am to reflect activity recorded up to that point each day
  3. Batch Field – note added to ask users to use this field for batch number and refrain from including other information. Batch number is very important for vaccine efficacy and public health surveillance.

What is VMS?

The Vaccine Management System (VMS) has been created to provide central reporting of vaccinations delivered throughout NI. It will be used to share that information with primary care providers and provide insight as to the performance of the delivery of vaccines to the population of Northern Ireland.

This version has been created for use in community vaccination settings. It is not linked to the public appointment booking platform. When used in GP practices it holds key demographic information relating to patients from your practice list. You can use the VMS to check the vaccination status of your patients. The VMS has 3 main functions to support your vaccination activity.

First to update your patient records whenever a vaccination has taken place.

The second is to ‘create a new patient’ record – this means you can update vaccination status for a patient who has been vaccinated by your practice team but is not on your practice list, for example, a member of the practice team.

The third is to check and report on patient vaccination status. This application has a built-in report that can be exported to excel.

Why are we using it?

The COVID-19 vaccination programme is new and there is a need for up to date and complete data relating to vaccination activity taking place across all vaccination centres. This data supports the operational programme but also informs research and health surveillance. VMS gives us a single master record for all vaccinations taking place and matches data against key indexes including the Health and Care Index and contact tracing.

We are not using GP Clinical systems to record vaccinations because there is currently no automated way to securely and rapidly exchange complete and accurate information to the centralised master record.

How do I get access to use it?

If you have been identified as a suitable user of the system you will be sent an email inviting you to log in to VMS using your username and password. The email will look like this:

If you are working at a primary care practice, then your practice manager will have sent us details of your username and should let you know to expect this invite.

What will I see when I start using it?

When you are signed in you will be able to search for a patient on your list.

The homepage

  • This is your homepage view of all the patients listed in your surgery
  • You can search for a patient using their name or H&C number in the search field at the top of the page
  • Clicking on the HSC logo at the top of this page will always bring you back to this view of patients, wherever you are in on the site
  • You can also sign-out of your account on the link at the bottom of the page
  • You can view this list of FAQs anytime by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page or find where to get help using the support link

How do I enter a patient vaccination record?

Find the patient record by typing their name or H&C number into the search field.

Once you have started typing the page will update to show you a listed of suggested patients. When you find a matching patient chose the ‘next’ button to review their patient details. You will then see a simple form to allow you to enter their vaccination record.

You will see the patient details – use these to check it is the correct patient. Their vaccination history will be stated clearly at the top of the screen. You can proceed to enter vaccination details:

Tip: use the tab button to move to the next field.

Please note: If dose 1 of a vaccine has already been delivered, the system is set to restrict selection to dose 2.

Vaccine types can be amended to include new types as they are approved and adopted for use; system rules will change to suit the operational needs of vaccination centres, for example booster doses.

Please note: If the record states your patient has received vaccinations at another location that you were unaware of - please check the patient details again. Please raise this with your practice manager for further investigation and escalation.

You can cancel out of this patient record at any time by clicking the logo at the top of the page OR by clicking the link to return to the list of patients.

Once complete please use the save vaccination record button.

The information you have entered will not be saved until you click on save the vaccination record.

Once you have saved the vaccination record you will be returned to the list of patients and the status of the patient will have changed.

Patient Status

If at any time you want to view the record of a patient who has previously received doses of vaccine you can click on view and the record will show their vaccination history.

At present the system is set up to limit to two doses. This can be changed centrally as vaccination rules and dose types change.

What do I do when I can’t find a patient?

If the practice team has performed vaccinations for patients who are not on their list these can be recorded using the ‘Create New Patient’ function. This function should only be used by a nominated user in the practice – this function can be audited – please check in with your practice manager or lead GP before creating a new patient. This updated information will be shared with that patient’s own practice via the VMS.

What do I do when I have a vaccination record for a patient that doesn’t belong to my practice?

There may be occasions when your practice will have given a vaccine to someone who isn’t a member of your practice list. Search for the patient’s name in the practice list as normal and if the name and details do not match any patient you have on record you will see and option to create new patient record:

You will be then asked to complete some additional fields in a new page:

Please complete as many fields as possible to allow us to match the patient with another practice.

Once this page has been saved the new patient will appear on your list of patients with the status – Not vaccinated.

To enter the vaccination details, choose the patient and select next to follow the standard procedure.

Once completed, this patient record will go back into the VMS central database to be matched to a patient record and then shared with their practice via the standard data exchange to GP systems.

Please note: When this record is submitted you will not be able to view the patient on your system – instead the patient status will be updated on the VMS system in the practice where the patient is registered.

How will VMS integrate with my other practice systems?

The data you enter will go into the main VMS master data file. It will be matched to your practice GP Clinical system from there and the local EMIS, Vision or Merlock system will be updated daily. The VMS is capturing all other vaccination data from other centres (Trusts, Care Homes, and Pharmacies etc.) and collating this to update GP clinical systems.

Can I use VMS to analyse patient vaccination status?

The VMS has a built-in .csv report based on your patient list which can be exported and used in combination with other excel reports you have created from other sources.

This contains information on vaccination status, cohort and other key demographics for patients on your list.

Training Videos

Recording a vaccination

YouTube -

Vimeo -

Viewing a clinic list

YouTube -

Vimeo -

Managing appointments and creating patients

YouTube -

Vimeo -

Editing patient details and re-matching

Vimeo -

Accessing the VMS

How do we start using VMS?

A letter introducing VMS and inviting practices to nominate users was sent in February 2021. Additional users or changes to users will need to be approved by the Practice Management Support Team in the Integrated Care Team. There are currently a maximum of three users per practice.

How do I set my team up as VMS Users?

If additional or user changes are required, this will need to be approved by the PMST. You will be asked to provide the name, email address and username of the staff you want to be working on VMS.

Depending on the size of the practice you will be assigned two or three accounts for your staff. We will need a functioning email address and username to set up the account.

Users are those who will access and use system regularly (Max 3 at present) Practice Code Name of VMS User Job Title (need at least 1 or 2 administration staff) Email address can be generic; must be Is email address in used frequently? Username
User 1 Z00000 Jane Brown Practice Manager YES
User 2 Z00000 Jenny Brown Administrator Jenny.Brown YES
User 3 (if needed)

The username is the unique login that staff use to access services e.g. email, FPPS, etc. For named users it is usually in the format of firstname initial + first 4 characters from surname + 3 digits, E.g. bmart008, kchey002, harms010, sdrum002, etc. For generic users like admin, reception, etc. it can vary but is usually in the format of Role.Z00XXX. E.g. Admin.Z00333, PracticeMgr.Z00154, Reception.Z00252

Take email for example, if they regularly login to check their email then they would be displayed a login like below and have to use their username to login.

What technology does VMS support?

We have tested VMS for use in your practice PC logged onto the HSC Network. It is not accessible outside the HSC Network for security reasons.

When do I need to start using the system?

The integrated care team will write to your practice with dates. It is likely to be from Monday 15 February 2021.

What if I work for more than one practice?

For users who work in more than one practice - we are adding users who work across multiple practices over the next few days to ensure they have access to practices. You do not need to do anything more with these – they will be added soon.

Adding new users

Practices can apply to change and add new users from 22 February 2021; we need to get current users up and running first. There are a limited number of users permitted on the application however if you are using the application live and onsite in your vaccination clinics you will get priority for additional users.

Missing Users

You may have requested other users who have not received a link to go live on 17 February 2021 – we require a valid username and email addresses to set up users; if we have been unable to set up some of your users your practice support manager will be in touch with you to resolve this with you.

Vaccination records on GP Systems (EMIS, Vision, and Merlock)

You will not find a record of vaccinations carried out at your practice on VMS until we can transfer the details in. We will be in touch with practices to work with you to get access to vaccination data stored on your GP clinical systems; we will migrate this into VMS then you will have a single record of vaccinations.

We are working with these suppliers to exchange vaccination records back to GP systems. Anything recorded on VMS from this date will be fed back to your local system. The first set of this information is expected to be sent to you within 2 – 3 weeks. This is dependent on the GP System suppliers being ready to accept the files.

Reporting on Patient Vaccination Status

UPDATE: 21 February – this report is now available;

The app contains a report on the vaccination status of your patients. This is refreshed daily at 5am. How to use it; this can be used in excel. The report contains all patients on your practice so you may wish to filter by age to reduce size before merging with other files or creating pivot tables. You can use this report to compare VMS data with your clinical/cohort lists, for example CEV patients and track if they have had a vaccination outside of your practice or have an appointment booked at one of the vaccination centres.

NOTE – the report will not include vaccinations carried out at your practice as you have not shared that data with the VMS team. We will be in touch w/c 22 February to make arrangement to exchange that data. Once shared with us we can load this into VMS to give a more complete view of patient status.

We also have some Trust data missing and are working with Trusts to ensure they share that with the VMS team. Belfast Trust data relating to vaccination activity during Dec 2020/January 2021 has not been shared with VMS yet – we are expecting a migration w/c 22 February;

The app will contain a report on the vaccination status of your patients. This report will be made available via a link in the VMS app.

Vaccination Reporting/ Survey Monkey

The VMS will eventually replace the need for daily reporting however we ask you to continue to use Survey Monkey to report vaccination activity back to us until we have assurance that all practices are using VMS for this purpose. It is hoped we will be able to stop the daily survey soon after all practices go-live. We will inform you when this reporting can cease. We will continue to need a report on vaccine wastage – this may be reduced to a weekly update. We will confirm this.

Changes to the Application

Users have requested additional fields. These will be considered by the steering group consisted of GP and practice representatives.

For example, the field ‘vaccinator’ exists in the original VMS application but was removed from the GP VMS app as it was not required; if this needs to be added the steering group will prioritise this as a system change.