COVID-19 Vaccine Update No 15

Published: 05 May 2021

Crawley vaccine site volunteers 

Primary Care vaccine delivery programme has roles available for vaccine site volunteers. Tasks include meeting, greeting, directing and supporting patients at the Apple Tree Centre vaccination site. Shifts are generally 8am – 12pm or 1-5pm.   

Details on how to register interest can be found at this site; https://info.lantum.com/abc_vaccination_bank 

Progress to date

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Second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine given to more than half of care home residents in Sussex

The majority of the most vulnerable care home residents in Sussex and staff working to look after them have received their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, giving them maximum protection.
As at, 20 April, 404 care homes in Sussex have been visited by the GP-led teams and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust so residents could receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccinations began at care homes for older people, as they were identified at highest risk from the COVID-19 infection. The second dose provides the most protection possible by reinforcing the protection given by the recipient’s initial immune response, triggered by the first vaccine.
By vaccinating hundreds of older people across hundreds of care homes in Sussex the programme has given them not only some protection against the virus, but also a sense of hope. Across Sussex we have 748 homes - one of the highest numbers of nursing and care homes per capita across the country and so this work is a significant undertaking.
Visiting loved ones in care homes

Alongside other protections in place, vaccination of both residents and staff in care settings has helped to enable the resumption of indoor visiting - reuniting families with their loved ones. From 12 April 2021, national guidance stated that every care home resident can nominate up to two named visitors who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits. As care homes reopen to the public, there are steps you need to take to protect yourself and those around you. Listen to this podcast with Dr Claire Lehman, Consultant in Public Health at West Sussex County Council to find out how to visit your loved ones safely.

People aged 42 and over now eligible for their vaccination

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Today, people aged 42 and over have become eligible for their vaccination. Now anyone aged 42 and over, those clinically extremely vulnerable, those with an underlying health condition, and unpaid carers are all currently eligible. To book your vaccination, visit nhs.uk/covidvaccine, call 119, or wait to be contacted by your GP led local vaccination service. To date, more than 1.2 million vaccinations have been given across Sussex as the roll out continues, with thousands of first and second dose appointments taking place this week.

New advice on COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women

Pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised.

The new advice comes following analysis of real-world data from the United States showing that around 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated, mainly with mRNA vaccines including Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, without any safety concerns being raised. Updated advice for pregnant women in the UK now says that it’s preferable for them to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available. There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but more research is needed. Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said: “Vaccination offers pregnant women the best protection from COVID-19, which can be serious in some women."

'Having the COVID vaccine is just like having any other vaccine.’

Across our area more than 80% of people with a Learning Disability have had their first vaccination. Dedicated sessions such as the Quiet Session at the Brighton Centre at the weekend help to provide the right setting for people with Learning Disabilities to attend an appointment. If you are yet to have your first vaccination, please speak to your GP practice.

Further reassurance on the AstraZeneca vaccine 

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For most people currently being offered the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the benefits clearly outweigh the risks. Here's some helpful data analysis from the BBC that puts the figures into perspective. Medicines are only licensed once the evidence shows their benefits outweigh the risks associated with them. If you're called for the vaccine, you're making yourself safer by taking it. If you have questions and would like to talk them through, please attend your vaccination appointment where a clinician will be happy to talk to you.

Reminder on second dose appointments

We are receiving a number of enquiries from people who are concerned about their second dose appointment. If you booked your first vaccination through the national booking service (website) or by calling 119, you should have been able to book both appointments at the same time. If you need to change your second dose appointment please contact 119 or visit the website and search for 'Manage my Booking'. If you had your first vaccination at a GP led local vaccination service, their team will be contacting you approximately around 11 to 12 weeks from the date of your first appointment. They will contact you as soon as vaccines are available in line with deliveries and supply. Please do not contact your GP practice to ask about an appointment before week 12 and please note the vaccination service may contact you in week 12 for an appointment that week.

Appointments for GP led local vaccination services now online

Two local vaccination services in West Sussex are part of the first seven LVSs in Sussex which have been added to the national booking service. Appointments at the services at The Park in Horsham and Saxonbrook in Crawley will be available as part of the online booking system and via 119. This means that patients can go online - nhs.uk/covidvaccine - or call 119, and are able to book an appointment at these GP led services. Previously appointments were only being made locally by the team via phone calls and text messages. As we move to the next part of the vaccination programme, those under 50 years old, it is hoped that this access to appointments via the national booking service will help more people to arrange their vaccine as easily as possible.

New animations launched to help tackle disinformation

NHS England and NHS Improvement has launched a series of animations aimed at tackling disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. Aimed specifically at encouraging uptake in ethnic minority groups, the animations are available in 17 different languages and are suitable for use on a wide range of social media platforms. They cover key topics including vaccine safety, how it was tested, how it was developed so quickly, what is in it, and what the side effects are. The main animation is below and you can view them all now on YouTube.

New Covid facts website to answer common queries  

A new website designed to help the public answer questions about the Covid-19 vaccine launched this week. Covid Vax Facts details answers from expert, independent doctors and scientists about the most common concerns raised by the public. You can read the answers to key questions currently in the news or pose your own questions for a response. The site has been developed by the Universities of Nottingham, Southampton, Kings College London, and NIHR ARC Wessex, and led by Professor Kavita Vedhara from the School of Medicine at Nottingham.

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