COVID-19 Vaccine Update No 8
Published: 23 Mar 2021
Changes to vaccine supply in April
National media coverage this week may lead to questions from patients and the public about access to the vaccination programme in April. This is an evolving picture, thus there will be further updates from the national team, however for now I hope the following will help to support early conversations with patients.
Key lines to take:
- Our local vaccination service will continue to vaccinate over the coming weeks.
- All booked appointments at any vaccination service or centre will continue to take place unless you hear directly from the service team to rearrange. Please make sure you attend your appointment.
- If you are in one of the priority groups (50 and over, clinically extremely vulnerable, those with underlying health conditions, and unpaid carers) and you have not received your vaccination, please book today.
- You can arrange your appointment by:
- Using the national booking service (via the website and calling 119) and booking an appointment at one of the vaccination services or pharmacy led services. There are appointments available before 29 March when these services will pause for first doses for four weeks.
- Wait to be contacted by your local vaccination service or speak to your GP practice if you have concerns that you have not been contacted.
- GP practices are working collectively to make sure we have vaccinated as many of those in the priority groups as possible.
- Local vaccination services are also working to start arranging second dose appointments. The vaccine supply for these appointments is not affected and these appointments will continue to be arranged and take place for our patients.
- It is really important that as many of our patients who are eligible receive their vaccination - the benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, are clear and we want as many of our patients protected as possible.
For more FAQs relating to the vaccination programme: https://www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/keepsussexsafe/sussex-covid-19-vaccination-programme/faqs-about-the-covid-19-vaccine/
Sussex has now surpassed the three quarters of a million mark of vaccinations to protect those in the most vulnerable groups. This reflects the huge amount of working taking place across the system to give those who are eligible the vaccination as quickly as possible.
The milestone comes as the NHS remains on track to have offered the vaccination to all those in the JCVI priority groups by mid-April. The commitment aims to ensure that the most vulnerable are vaccinated as quickly as possible, and protection is provided for the whole adult population by the summer.
People aged 55 and over, those clinically extremely vulnerable, those with underlying health conditions, and unpaid carers are all currently eligible.
In the coming days, local vaccination services will also start to contact people who are due for their second dose, to make sure that all those who have had one jab receive their follow up appointment.
It has been announced this week that people aged 50 to 54 are now eligible for their COVID-19 vaccination.
This is the final group of the initial priorities set by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
People in this age group will be starting to receive texts from the national booking service this week, and letters from Friday. These will invite you to use the national booking service to arrange your appointment online or by calling 119 at a vaccination centre or pharmacy led service.
You may also be contacted by your GP practice, or the team supporting them such as their primary care network or GP Federation, to offer you an appointment at your local vaccination service.
Please take up the offer for this vital protection and arrange your appointment as quickly as possible.
Vaccination and Pregnancy
Midwife Emma Chambers answers some of the common questions about having the COVID-19 vaccine if you're pregnant or thinking of having a baby.
This is an updated video that includes the latest eligibility criteria.
Sussex residents who have no means to get to their COVID-19 vaccination appointment are now able to book a free return journey to help them attend.
To book free travel please book your vaccination appointment first and then call:
- 01444 275 008 for West Sussex residents
- 07871 603 235 for East Sussex residents
- Awaiting number for Brighton and Hove residents
to speak to a travel coordinator. The booking service is available between 10:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00 Monday to Friday.
Once you are through to a travel coordinator you will be asked the following questions:
- Do you have access to transport to attend your vaccine appointment?
- Do you have a family member, friend or carer who can help with transport? They do not have to be in your bubble as per government guidelines.
If both of these options are not available the travel coordinator will arrange transport for you, including any additional needs such as wheelchair-friendly vehicles.
All transport providers have signed up to a COVID-19 safety policy to ensure that all precautions are in place for a safe journey.