COVID-19 Vaccine Update No 17

Published: 18 May 2021

50,000 vaccine milestone at Crawley vaccination centre 


Progress across all of our vaccination services continues this week - with more than 80,000 first and second dose appointments planned for this week. The team at Crawley Vaccination Centre, based at Crawley Hospital, marked a significant milestone this week - 50,000 vaccinations. 

Working to make sure you get the vaccine recommended for you 


Last week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation set out new guidance that people under the age of 40 should be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The national programme then set out that everyone under the age of 40 will be offered an alternative to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine when they become eligible. Currently this will apply to any carers or health and care workers who have not come forward to date. It also applies to anyone who is going to turn 40 between now and 1 July 2021 as these people are currently eligible in the same group as those aged 40-49, but are now recommended to have an alternative vaccine. If you are eligible and are recommended to receive an alternative vaccine, you will be able to book an appointment through the national booking system very soon following an update that will identify appointments for you based on the type of vaccine being used. 

Quiet session set for West Sussex 

After successful Quiet Sessions in Brighton, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust is pleased to be able to offer a dedicated ‘Quiet COVID-19

Vaccination Session’ for people in West Sussex requiring their first dose COVID vaccination. The session is taking place on Saturday 22 May 2021, 8.30 am – 3.45 pm at the Children and Family Centre (Home Start Portacabin), St James’ Road, Chichester PO19 7AB This Quiet Session is being offered to people living in Sussex who are who are currently eligible for the vaccine and over the age of 40, who may need more time for their appointment, or who have extra access needs where a quieter and calmer environment would help support them to receive their vaccination. You can also book your carer in at the same time if they need their first vaccination dose too. The team will book in your second appointment for your second vaccination date on the day. Find out more and how to book: quiet vaccination session to take place in Chichester this month | Sussex Health & Care Partnership

Need confirmation of your Covid vaccinations? 


From Monday, 17 May, the NHS app will be available to use as a vaccine passport. The NHS app that already enables people to book appointments, repeat prescriptions and see their full medical records, from next week will also provide evidence of your vaccination status. Your status will only show when you have had both doses.

The NHS app is separate to the NHS Covid-19 app, which is used for contact tracing. If people are planning to travel, they are encouraged to register to use the app at least two weeks before travelling. A paper version will also be available - by calling 119 - not through your GP practice. Please don’t call your GP. The paper letter should be requested at least five days after a second vaccine, and can take up to five days to arrive so make sure to leave plenty of time if you need it to travel.

Experts create ‘chatbot’ to address people’s concerns about Covid19 vaccines 

A team of experts are hoping to support members of the public who are hesitant about having a Covid-19 vaccination and have developed an innovative new website to answer people’s questions and concerns. launches today (24 April).
Some estimates suggest that over 90% of the UK population need to take a Covid19 vaccine to achieve herd immunity, but research from the University of Nottingham suggests that one in five British adults are uncertain about whether to have a vaccine.
The recent news about the risk of rare blood clots and the Astra-Zeneca vaccine has undoubtedly amplified people’s concerns. Researchers at the University of Nottingham have been looking at the reasons why people are unsure and have found that most people have very similar questions and concerns.
A team of experts from 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, sought to answer these questions, by gathering information and evidence from independent experts working in the areas of immunology, vaccines and Covid-19.
Professor Kavita Vedhara said: “There is a lot of information and misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines and it can be hard to know where to look and who to trust. We have tried to develop a 'one-stop shop' that will provide information about the most common issues raised by the UK public. Our aim is to give people the information that will help them make an informed choice. Having a Covid-19 vaccine is a choice and everyone deserves a chance to have access to the information that will help them make that choice.”
Working with creative technology agency Rehab, the team have developed a website - - which they hope will help support people in making their decisions about having a vaccine.

The website provides up to date information on what we do and don’t know about the vaccines and allows people to explore the specific questions or concerns that matter to them. For example, the website includes information on the blood clot issue and also whether people can be vaccinated during Ramadan. The website was developed using research carried out and the University of Nottingham. It also provides links to other websites, that the public may find helpful.
The ‘chatbot’ starts by asking the user a few questions to find out what they are most concerned about. It then has a ‘conversation’ with the user about this issue in an objective, non-judgemental way, talking them through what is known and what isn’t, with scientific evidence presented in an accessible way.
The chatbot is able to store anonymous information on how the website is used which will help the team to understand which parts of the site work well and are used the most. This will allow them to continuously improve the site. The team are also hoping to secure funding to enable the site to be translated into different languages.
Jonathan Ball, Professor of Molecular Virology in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham, is one of the researchers who has helped to develop the content of the website. He said: “Vaccine roll-out is making a real difference in reducing the number of Covid-19 cases, so much so that a Covid-free future here in the UK is a real possibility. However, to achieve that we need as many people who are eligible to receive the vaccine to go and get the jab. Yes, people have real concerns about the vaccine and there is a lot of misinformation out there. That's why this website is so important as it acts as a one-stop shop to answer those burning questions about Covid vaccine safety.” The project comes out of a three-year partnership between Rehab and the University of Nottingham focusing on digital interventions. A previous study from the University identified 10 key topics in people’s hesitancy that must be addressed, and, with NHS resources too stretched to handle the number of conversations needed - Rehab have stepped in to provide a solution. Rehab have plans to expand on the project and build more direct intervention tools
Rob Bennett, CEO of Rehab Agency, said: “Digital technology, and social media in particular, contribute to the vaccine hesitancy issue, so it’s vital that we consider how we can make technology a part of the solution and work for society - rather than against it. The potential of conversational interfaces has advanced tremendously in recent years, and this project hopes to spotlight how pivotal they can be in fighting on the right side of important battles. Rehab is always looking at the endless possibilities of how technology can help people, and we’re very pleased to bring this project to the public.” 

The website is free to use and available at 


About us

Our mission is to help you achieve your ambitions by being part of our business community - connecting, supporting, promoting, informing and boosting you and your business. That also means supporting local business growth & providing a united voice in the Gatwick Diamond.
We aim for excellence by being proactive, committed, personal, open and engaging.

Get in touch

Tel: 01293 440088

Membership enquiries, new and existing:

Event information and booking: