People in Sussex have been urged to protect themselves, their families and the NHS over the Christmas period.
The local NHS is urging everyone who is eligible not to delay getting their COVID-19 vaccinations – whether it is your 1st, 2nd or booster vaccine.
More than 30,000 appointments are available for people to book on the National Booking Service for local vaccination services between now and the end of January.
There are also walk in sessions taking place across our communities, including every day next week – you don’t need an appointment you can simply turn up for a 1st, 2nd or booster vaccination. See the latest list of sessions here: Walk-in vaccination sessions – Sussex Health & Care Partnership (sussexhealthandcare.uk)
If you go to a walk in session, and had already had an appointment, please make sure you cancel your appointment.
The different vaccines available are:
More appointments are being made available every day, however, a large number of additional appointments are not being booked and local health leaders are concerned people are not getting the life-saving protection they need at this crucial time.
Locally, the number of people infected with Omicron needing hospital care is increasing and this is expected to continue over the coming weeks.
Vaccination teams across Sussex keep breaking records this month as they all step up efforts to protect our communities.
The NHS in Sussex delivered a record-breaking day for COVID-19 vaccinations, with more than 30,000 vaccinations recorded, on Saturday (18 December).
The incredible total is the highest number of vaccinations delivered on a single day by the vaccination teams across Brighton and Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex since the programme began.
A total of 151,000 vaccinations were given over the course of the week – a further record-breaker – which is 30,000 higher than the weekly total for Sussex during this phase of the programme.
In total more than 3.5 million vaccinations have been delivered so far in Sussex, including 864,774 boosters.
The NHS and partners have been working incredibly hard to accelerate the booster roll out and significantly increase the number of vaccination appointments available.
Sites are opening for longer and on additional days and new services are being made available in key areas.
NHS staff are being redeployed to focus on this huge national effort to protect people as quickly as possible and military aid is also supporting our teams.
Yesterday we heard the news that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended vaccinations for about 330,000 younger children at clinical risk, and also those living with someone who is immunosuppressed.
The JCVI has recommended the group are offered two doses of the Pfizer vaccine – in 10-microgram amounts, a third of the quantity used for adults – with a gap of eight weeks.
In the same announcement they have also recommended that the booster programme is extended to more teenagers, including 16 and 17-year-olds.
The JCVI’s decision on five- to 11-year-olds came after the UK’s medicine watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for them.
We are now expecting the operational guidance to set out when and how this will be offered to our local population. We will continue to keep you updated.
We keep hearing from people who are receiving both their COVID-19 and flu vaccinations and the difference it is making to them.
Whilst we accelerate the COVID-19 programme, flu vaccinations also continue to make sure those eligible are protected against seasonal flu as well this winter.
Watch Helen’s story about how her family are getting protected.
This week, the efforts of all those providing vaccinations in our communities and the public responding to the call to action to get vaccinated were featured in our regional BBC and ITV news broadcasts.
In Brighton and Hove they visited the mobile vaccination unit at Tesco in Hove, where they filmed and interviewed those giving vaccinations, volunteers and people who were getting their COVID-19 jab.
In East Sussex they visited the vaccination centres in Eastbourne and they will be back there tomorrow meeting the team who will be opening on Christmas Day, and going to Bexhill Mosque who are holding a session at prayers tomorrow afternoon.
In West Sussex, we had national ITV with the Alliance for Better Care team on Tuesday in Crawley and Horsham.
Then we showed BBC South East how the vaccination centres in the old Argos building in East Grinstead and the Apple Tree Centre at the Hindu Temple in Ifield were stepping up efforts.
BBC South Today also worked with the Christs Hospital service to call people forward and make sure their available appointments were used this week.
The efforts of the news media to support and inform our communities during the pandemic have been invaluable, and they have undertaken important an public service for the people who live in Sussex.
We have been honoured to have not only protected Father Christmas this festive season, but also have him join us in our efforts to protect our local communities.
We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is and who has been involved in the programme – from the vaccinating teams to the stewards and marshalls to the drivers and support teams who have all played their part in this monumentous effort this year.
And to all of the people who have come forward for their vaccinations – thank you so much for taking that step to protect yourself and those around you.
From the programme team we wish you all the very best for this festive period, and a happy and healthy 2022.
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.