Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust has today (1 February) opened the appointment only facilities at Crawley Hospital in West Green Drive and The Welcome Building in Compton Street, Eastbourne.
The services are by appointment only with vaccinations delivered by teams from Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT).
Residents who are eligible for a vaccination, and who live within a 60 mile radius of one of vaccination centres, are being written to directly by the NHS and invited to book an appointment.
The new centres in Crawley and Eastbourne follow the opening of the Brighton Centre last week and are in addition to the local GP-led vaccination services that now cover all patients in Sussex, and select pharmacy-led services that are also available through the national booking system.
Vaccination centres are another part of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, working alongside GP-led vaccination services, roving services, specific pharmacies and hospital hubs.
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.
The national booking service writes 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 they prefer.
People aged over 65 years old in care homes and those who look after them were identified as the top priority group for the COVID-19 vaccine by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations, due to their high risk from coronavirus.
Thanks to the dedication and commitment of our vaccination teams from GP-led services and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, Sussex has met the government target to vaccinate older care home residents by the end of January 2021.
*A small remainder of homes in Sussex have had visits deferred for safety reasons, following a risk assessment, during local outbreaks. These homes – as well as any other residents or staff that were unwell or unable to have a vaccine at the vaccination team’s initial visit – will be visited as soon as possible.
Frontline health and care staff across Sussex continue to be able to access the vaccine daily at one of our hospital hubs or vaccination centres.
Sussex NHS Commissioners Chief Nursing Officer, Allison Cannon, said: “By vaccinating thousands of older people across hundreds of care homes in Sussex we have given them not only some protection against the virus, but also a sense of hope.
“In Sussex we have one of the highest numbers of nursing and care homes per capita across the country and so this work is a significant undertaking. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to our vaccination teams for their ceaseless work around the clock to get this vital protection to our older people.
“We continue to vaccinate thousands of care staff every day. They have worked tirelessly to look after our most vulnerable people through some very difficult months and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for their dedication and commitment. I would urge anyone in these roles to take the vaccine if you are offered it. Those working in care homes are at much higher risk of repeated exposure to the infection. Catching COVID-19 can be serious and may lead to long term complications, but you can also have the virus without any symptoms and pass it on to family, friends and residents, many of whom may be at increased risk.”
In Sussex, we are on course to vaccinate the top four priority groups by mid-February, in line with the national target. This includes the 120,000 health, social care and other care workers across the system. Watch out video to find out more about workforce vaccinations.
Much more information about the vaccination programme is available on our website, including details of the services available in each area, latest data, stakeholder briefings, answers to frequently asked questions and links to all the national leaflets and materials.
Thank you for your support in helping to keep our local communities updated and informed about this fast-moving and unprecedented vaccination programme.