COVID-19 Vaccine Explained Patrick Brady

COVID-19 Vaccination Programme


The government has asked the NHS to deliver a COVID-19 vaccination programme. NHS planning is based on the latest information on the vaccine development and the latest Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The rollout represents a highly complex logistical challenge that has to be delivered safely and effectively. 

The link below provides government data to the public on :

  • A daily update
  • Testing
  • Cases
  • Healthcare
  • Deaths

This is presented by region we are South East and across the UK



Vaccination Facts

Currently there are 3 approved vaccines and 2 further vaccines that may gain approval later this year. The 3 approved vaccines are Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca/Oxford and Moderna, of these 2 are in use Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca/Oxford whilst Moderna will not be available until the spring.


COVID-19 vaccine (known as Courageous) developed by Pfizer/BioNTech. The vaccine needs to be kept at temperatures of about -70C and will be given as two doses, separated by three to 12 weeks. This is an mRNA Vaccine, where the RNA acts as a messenger (m) carrying instructions from DNA. It uses small fragments from the genetic code of Covid-19 which would start making the virus inside a human body, this allows the immune system to recognise the virus as foreign and can therefore 'attack' it with antibodies. It is not made with eggs or animals (pork/gelatin).

COVID-19 vaccine (known as Talent) developed by AstraZeneca/Oxford University. The vaccination needs to be kept refrigerated in a drugs fridge (2-8 degrees) and will be given as two doses, separated by four to 12 weeks. This is a recombinant vaccine, where a replication-deficient adenovirus vector encodes the SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein, this genetically modified virus resembles COVID (viral expressing the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2) and triggers an immune system response. The spike protein allows a virus to penetrate a host cell and cause infection. Again, this is not made with eggs or animals (pork/gelatin)

Both vaccines have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).




Both vaccines provide protection against the 'original' and 'new variants'. They are both considered inactivated - meaning they use a killed version of the germ that causes a disease. Once the vaccine dose has been administered there is a delay before any immunity is achieved, therefore just like with the influenza vaccination a person could still get COVID-19 during this time, and right up until after they have had the second dose, that is why people should continue to follow all the current regulations pertaining to social distancing and hand washing.


People will be notified and offered the vaccination in accordance with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation groups as presented below.



The NHS has well-established routes for delivering vaccinations across the country, for example the annual flu jab and the plans for delivering the COVID-19 vaccination will build on these. The vaccine will be delivered in four ways:

  1. Hospital hubs - primarily for NHS staff and hospital inpatients
  2. Vaccination centres (large-scale centres) - operated by NHS England. People will be contacted directly by letter, text or email
  3. Local vaccination services (run by GPs and pharmacies) - people will be contacted by phone or text and invited to make an appointment. A choice of location be offered and
  4. Roving model for care homes and the housebound
Hospital Hubs

There are now eight hospital hub vaccination services in Sussex focused on the vaccination of health and care staff, including care home staff. They are at:

    • Conquest Hospital, Hastings
    • Eastbourne District General Hospital
    • Mill View Hospital, Hove
    • Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath
    • Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead
    • Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton
    • St Richards Hospital, Chichester
    • Worthing Hospital
Vaccination Centres

A large vaccination centre has opened in Brighton and provides eligible people across Sussex greater opportunity to receive their vaccine. People who are in the top four priority groups currently eligible to receive their vaccination will be invited to get their vaccine at The Brighton Centre. They should book their appointment through a national booking system and will receive their vaccine by teams from Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, who are running the service.

As from the 1st February 2021 residents in Sussex can now receive their COVID-19 immunisations at a new vaccination centre, which has opened in Crawley. Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust has opened an appointment only facilities at Crawley Hospital in West Green Drive.

The new centres in Crawley and Eastbourne follow the opening of the Brighton Centre 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.  

The national NHS booking service will be writing to eligible people living within 60 miles of the Brighton Centre providing them all the details they need to book an appointment online or over the phone. At present the NHS is ensuring that the over 80s are vaccinated before extending invitations to the next priority age groups.

West Sussex is making excellent progress towards achieving the government target.

Local Vaccination Service

All patients registered with a GP in West Sussex are now covered by the GP-led local vaccination services and will be contacted when it is their turn to receive the vaccine. GP practices have been working together in local groups to arrange the vaccination of their patients, usually at one shared location. The GP led vaccination services for Crawley, Horsham, and Mid-Sussex are currently:

Crawley district

Leacroft Surgery, for patients at:

    • Bridge Medical Centre
    • Ifield Medical Practice
    • Langley Corner Surgery
    • Leacroft Medical Practice
    • Southgate Medical Group

Saxonbrook Medical Centre, for patients at:

    • Bewbush Medical Centre
    • Coachmans Medical Practice
    • Furnace Green Surgery
    • Gossops Green Medical Centre
    • Saxonbrook Medical Centre

Poundhill Medical Practice, for patients at:

    • Poundhill Medical Practice
    • Woodlands & Clerklands Partnership

Horsham district

Christ's Hospital Blue Coats, for patients at:

    • Cowfold Surgery
    • Rudgwick Medical Centre
    • The Courtyard Surgery
    • Village Surgery

Park Surgery, for patients at:

    • Holbrook Surgery
    • Orchard Surgery
    • Park Surgery
    • Riverside Surgery

The Glebe Surgery, for patients at:

    • Billingshurst Surgery
    • Henfield Medical Practice
    • Steyning Health Centre
    • The Glebe Surgery

Mid Sussex district

Clair Hall, Haywards Heath, for patients in Haywards Health at:

    • Dophins Practice
    • Newtons Practice
    • Northlands Wood Surgery
    • Cuckfield Medical Centre
    • Lindfield Medical Centre
    • Ouse Valley Practice

Clair Hall, Haywards Heath, for patients in Burgess Hill at::

    • Brow Medical Centre
    • Meadows Surgery
    • Mid Sussex Health Care
    • Park View Health Partnership
    • Silverdale Practice

Meridian Hall, East Grinstead, for patients at:

    • Crawley Down Health Centre
    • Judges Close Surgery
    • Moatfield Surgery

Adur and Worthing

Lancing Parish Hall, for patients at:

  • Ball Tree Surgery
  • New Pond Row Surgery
  • Orchard Surgery

Northbourne Medical Centre, for patients at:

  • Harbour View Healthcare
  • Northbourne Medical Centre
  • The Manor Practice

Strand Medical Group, for patients at:

  • Cornerway's Surgery
  • Selden Medical Group
  • Worthing Medical Group

Durrington Health Centre, for patients at:

  • Barn Surgery
  • Lime Tree Surgery (Phoenix)

St Lawrence Surgery, for patients at:

  • Broadwater Medical Centre
  • St Lawrence Surgery
  • Victoria Road Surgery


Angmering Community Centre, for patients at:

  • Coppice Surgery
  • Fitzalan Medical Group

Bognor Medical Centre, for patients at:

  • Arundel Surgery
  • Avisford Medical Group
  • Bersted Green Surgery
  • Bognor Medical Centre
  • Flansham Park Health Centre
  • Grove House Surgery
  • Maywood Health Care Centre
  • The Croft Surgery
  • West Meads Surgery

Westcourt Medical Centre, for patients at:

  • Park Surgery
  • Willow Green Surgery
  • Westcourt Medical Centre

Chichester district

The Selsey Centre and Tangmere Village Centre, for patients at:

  • Cathedral Medical Group
  • Langley House Surgery
  • Lavant Road Surgery
  • Parklands Surgery
  • Selsey Medical Practice
  • Southbourne Surgery
  • Tangmere Medical Centre
  • Witterings Medical Centre
  • Pulborough Medical Group, for patients at:

Pulborough Medical Group

  • ???? Loxwood

Riverbank Medical Centre, for patients at:

  • Petworth Surgery
  • Riverbank Medical Centre

Each GP led vaccination service is receiving deliveries of vaccine from the national supply to provide the first dose vaccination to their patients. The Government guidance on the timing of the second dose has recently been updated and is now over a 12week period. All of the vaccination services are following this guidance and inviting their patients back for their second dose in the 12week period.

Appointments are being offered to patients as soon as vaccine deliveries are confirmed each week. The regularity of when vaccines are given depend largely on the supply of vaccine. As a result, GP led services are not running every day of the week; most are running specific days in line with the availability of the vaccine. This does not mean that GP led services are permanently closed as soon as further supplies are received the service will resume vaccinations for its patients.

It is recognised that 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'. If this is not possible, then you may be able to access community transport. Other options are also being explored to support residents travelling to their vaccination appointment if they cannot ask a friend or family member for help. Please ask at the time of booking what local arrangements are in place.

Vaccinations in care homes

A roving service is working to continue the roll out of the vaccine to all care homes across West Sussex. Vaccines are being delivered through GP practices in their local Primary Care Networks (PCN) and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT). Older people in care homes are one of the top priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccine due to their high risk from coronavirus.

In line with the national target to have vaccinated all care homes by the end of January, the NHS has been working tirelessly to vaccinate both residents and staff across Sussex. The initial priority has been, care homes for older residents and as of 25th January some 8,381 residents across a total of 454 care homes for older people have vaccinated (equating to 90 per cent of all of our care homes for older people in Sussex).

Anyone with COVID-19 cannot receive the vaccine while they are recovering. Some care homes are currently experiencing positive cases of COVID-19 amongst their residents and in these cases the home or those residents who are unwell have not been able to have their vaccination at this point. The vaccination teams have a clear schedule in place and will be revisiting them 28 days following the positive test.

In Sussex, we have one of the highest numbers of nursing and care homes per capita across the country and thanks to the dedication and commitment of the vaccination teams from GP practice teams and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust West Sussex is making excellent progress towards achieving the government target.

Update on the COVID-19 vaccination programme: national vaccination letters

Patients are starting to receive letters from the national vaccination booking system. The letter is labelled only from the NHS and invites you to book your vaccination appointment.

These letters are causing confusion and we want to provide a simple summary of how people can receive their vaccination and the purpose of these letters.

In Sussex, people in the eligible groups are able to receive their vaccination at either a GP led or local vaccination service, a larger vaccination centre such as the Brighton Centre, a local pharmacy service, or a roving service which is visiting care homes and those who are housebound. All of these services are working alongside each other and provide people with choice to decide where they would like to receive their vaccination.GP led or local vaccination services are contacting patients directly by phone, text or letter to book an appointment, even if they are housebound and not able to access a service.

Appointments at the larger vaccination centres and local pharmacy services are available through a national booking system and the letters set out how you can access this - both through a website and a phone line.

COVID Vaccination Scams

Be on your guard against fraudulent text and email messages as new scams are being sent to patients. People are receiving a text or email notification of their 'vaccination appointment' and are being asked to confirm it by clicking on a link. This looks very similar to the genuine texts being sent to patients to arrange their appointments at the GP led vaccination services.

Please follow the advice below.

  • The COVID-19 vaccination is ONLY available from the NHS and it is FREE - you will never be asked to pay for it or give your bank details.
  • If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up.
  • If you receive a text or email that you believe to be fraudulent please delete it. Please be assured that if you don't respond because you are worried and it is a genuine text or email, you will remain on the vaccination list and be contacted again
  • If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Where the victim is vulnerable, report it to Sussex Police online or by calling 101.
Official NHS Texts
  • An official NHS text message from your GP practice or the organisation arranging the appointments for your GP practice such as the local GP Federation will include their details such as the name of the Practice, group of Practices or the name of the Federation working on their behalf. It may also include details of the vaccination centre. Scam text messages and emails usually don't include his information 
  • An official NHS text message from the national booking system will be a reminder text so will include details of your booked appointment include date, time and location

If you have any further concerns about something you have received please contact the Sussex COVID-19 vaccination programme team on sxccg.vaccineenquiries@nhs.net

Helpful Links

COVID-19 vaccination programme



Frequently Asked Questions



When and where will I get my jab? 



As part of the "When will I get my jab?" public campaign we have produced a series of materials, including a specific animation relating to these letters:








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