In Sussex, The NHS remains focused on vaccinating the first priority cohorts recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). These are residents and staff in care homes for older people, those aged 80 and over, and frontline health and care staff.
We know the recent news that the over 70s could now be vaccinated caused some confusion and concern among those who are waiting to receive an appointment. While the change gives us valuable flexibility to ensure that no appointments or vaccines go to waste, we are still very much focused on the first priority cohorts.
Nationally, the most recent published data shows that just over half of over 80s have received their first vaccination, so no one should be concerned if they have not yet been contacted. In Sussex, we are working to vaccinate all over 80s by the middle of February.
One of the ways we’re getting the vaccine to the over 80s is through our roving delivery services.
Many of our GP-led services, and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, have been taking the vaccine to residents and staff in care homes for older people in recent weeks. We have made great progress on this and are on track to have visited all these care homes within the next week.
That means we will soon have more roving services available to vaccinate those over 80s who are housebound. We are developing our plans to ensure that all housebound patients have been identified and have a vaccination visit scheduled.
Additionally, for those over 80s who are willing and able to travel for their vaccination, we will soon have more options available in Sussex as we expect the first of our large-scale vaccination centres and community pharmacy-led sites to come on-line over the coming week.
Staff from Riverbank Surgery in Midhurst have started vaccinating hundreds of patients from Midhurst and Petworth today. Vaccination clinics are running from today until Saturday, by which time they hope to have vaccinated the majority of their over 80 population.
In the North of Chichester District, the local vaccination service in Midhurst is in addition to the existing service in Pulborough that has been vaccinating patients since the start of the month.
Good progress at the Brighton Racecourse vaccination service means that thousands more vaccinations are now being delivered in the city every week. All GP practices in the city are now covered by the roll out of the Sussex vaccination programme, with three local vaccination services for local residents now live.
It will be even easier for people in Brighton to book their vaccination appointment from next week, when the county’s first large scale vaccination centre is due to open in the city.
The first vaccinations were delivered today for people from rural Rother at the new vaccination service at Etchingham Village Hall.
Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust is working in partnership with the following GP practices to run the service:
• Fairfield Surgery, Burwash
• Ferry Road Health Centre, Rye
• Martins Oak Surgery, Battle
• Northiam and Broad Oak Surgery
• Oldwood Surgery, Robertsbridge
• Rye Medical Centre
• Sedlescombe and Westfield Surgeries
The service is offering vaccine appointments to registered patients at these GP practices in line with the national priority groups, starting with those who are over the age of 80.
We recognise that, with one site at Etchingham at the current time, some people will have to travel further than others to get their vaccination. During the current restrictions, family and friends of elderly patients are permitted to take them to their COVID-19 vaccine appointment under the exemption of ‘providing care for the vulnerable’.
Much more information about the vaccination programme is available on our website, including details of the services available in each area, stakeholder briefings, answers to frequently asked questions and links to all the national leaflets and materials.
As NHS England begins publishing data on the number of vaccinations delivered at a local level, these figures will also be included.
Thank you for your support in helping to keep our local communities updated and informed about this fast-moving and unprecedented vaccination programme.