As more supplies of vaccine become available, large-scale vaccination centres are starting to open across the country, capable of quickly vaccinating large numbers of people. We will be able to announce the opening of the vaccination centre for Sussex shortly, pending confirmation of vaccine delivery dates.
How do vaccination centres differ from GP-led local vaccination services?
Vaccination centres are larger facilities with many more vaccinations taking place at once. They are located with good transport links and serve a much wider population. However, just like GP-led services, the vaccination centres are still focused on the same priority cohorts. At present that remains the over 80s, with the over 70s and clinically extremely vulnerable to follow shortly.
Vaccination centres also differ from GP-led services in how appointments are arranged. While GPs invite their patients to get vaccinated at their local vaccination service, appointments at the vaccination centres are made through the national booking service.
How do people use the national booking service?
The national booking service will be writing to eligible people, living within 60 miles of a vaccination centre, inviting them to book an appointment at the centre online or over the phone. The letter contains all the details people will need to book their appointment.
Anyone receiving a letter from the national booking service can choose whether to book an appointment at the vaccination centre, or wait until they are contacted by their GP for an appointment at their local vaccination service if that would be more convenient.
Will people receive invitations from both their GP and the national booking service?
When you receive you first dose, or book an appointment through the national booking system, this will be recorded on the national vaccination database. Until then, you may receive one invitation to book at your local service from your GP and another to book at a vaccination centre from the national booking service.
If you receive two invitations, you can choose which is more convenient for you. In time, as more vaccination centres come online, there will be more options available through the national booking system.
What about pharmacy-led vaccination services and hospital hubs?
As pharmacy-led vaccination services come online, they will be available through the national booking system. Hospital hubs are now focusing on vaccinating the health and care workforce.
Where can I get more information?
There’s more information about the Sussex COVID-19 vaccination programme on our website and further details about the vaccination centre for Sussex will be available shortly.
We know that, for some of our communities, the best way to share information is through the people in those communities themselves. To help us ensure that we cascade information on the COVID-19 vaccination programme effectively and to help answer questions, queries and dispel myths, we have developed a COVID-19 vaccination champions programme.
We have asked members of our diverse communities across Sussex to volunteer to help us in this role. We have had over 100 applications from a range of people who will help us reach communities including BAME people, those living in areas of deprivation, faith groups and others.
Vaccination champions receive training and support, and are up-to-date on where to go to answer frequently asked questions and to find other information, which they can pass on. They also help to gather and share feedback from communities, which may be about information needs or experiences in accessing vaccination. This in turn helps us to ensure we continue to respond to the needs of our local communities, address any frequently asked questions, and can provide further information in the most appropriate format.
The first 23 champions have already completed their training, with around 80 champions expected to be trained in total, covering a diverse range of geographies and backgrounds and including communities where a more targeted approach is needed.
Jane Lodge, Associate Director of Public Involvement for the Sussex Clinical Commissioners, talks about the innovative vaccination champions programme in Sussex that is helping to inform local communities about the vaccine, alongside our “When will I get my jab?” public information campaign.
> Read more about the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Sussex.