Please use the links on the left for quick links to further information on the local vaccination centres and how this programme is rolling out in the Bexhill and Battle constituency.
As of 14 March over 60 per cent of Bexhill and Battle adults have now received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination
The Sussex Health and Care Partnership have set up a dedicated email address for all enquiries relating to the Covid-19 vaccination. The address is: Sxccg.email@example.com
Please find below information and on links to the left of this page to help answer your questions on the local mass vaccination programme for Covid-19.
This update contains information on local vaccination centres, priority vaccination groups, vaccination types and logistics challenges and vaccination for care home staff and residents (including domiciliary and agency care staff)
Vaccination Update from Huw Merriman MP – 7 April 2021
At present vaccinations are taking place in hospital hubs; GP led vaccination services; roving services to care homes and the housebound; and in mass vaccination sites/pharmacy sites across the country.
Thanks to the hard work of our vaccination teams more than 1 million vaccinations have been delivered across Sussex. This is a phenomenal achievement.
In the Bexhill and Battle constituency over 52,000 people had received their first dose of the vaccine by 14 March, the tenth highest number of people in any parliamentary constituency in the country. Notably, this area has the third highest number in the country of those aged 75-79 and 70-74 vaccinated, and the fourth highest number of over 80s.
The NHS has published data on the number of people who have been vaccinated for COVID-19, split by constituency of residence and age group. You can access this data as well as other breakdowns such as by ethnicity, care home, lower tier local authority and more here.
All people aged over 50 are now being invited to attend for a vaccination appointments. If you are aged 50 and over you can book your jab online now through the national booking service or by calling 119 free of charge. These appointments will be at the large vaccination centres or community pharmacy-led sites. Alternatively, if it is difficult to get to one of the larger sites, you may have your vaccine at a GP-led service. If this is your choice and you are 70 and over, please contact your local service or GP practice today. If you are 50 and over, please wait and you will be contacted by the GP-led service.
Second vaccination appointments: All those who received their first vaccination at their GP-led hub will be contacted for their second vaccine approximately 10-11 weeks after their first vaccine. Supplies of vaccine are being protected to ensure that priority is given for second vaccinations ahead of any younger cohorts being called for their first vaccinations. Locally, the second vaccinations started last week and will continue to roll out. If you don’t already have your date for your second dose, please be patient. Unless you have already booked both doses through the national booking service, you must have your second dose at the same place that you received your first. . They will contact you to arrange your appointment, but this may not happen until around ten weeks after your first appointment. Please do not contact your GP about your second vaccine appointment unless it is nearly 11 weeks since you had your first vaccine and you have still not been contacted.
Current vaccine supplies: As reported in the press, national vaccine supplies remain 'lumpy' ie, there are peaks and troughs in supplies of the Astra Zeneca vaccine. Nationally, from 15 March we had very strong supplies which meant all vaccination centres were able to operate at their maximum capacity. Looking ahead, we are expecting reduced supplies in April which means that the vaccination sites will have to adapt their operations to ensure they maximise best use of resources, that the priority cohorts are completed and second doses are prioritised. Locally, we are on track to meet the national target of vaccinating all those in JCVI cohorts 1-9 are vaccinated by 15 April.
Hospital hub vaccination services are running at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings and the Eastbourne DGH. These hubs are currently vaccinating all NHS, health and social care workers who are working on the frontline.
GP-led vaccination services In the majority, each service is supported by a number of GP practices (within their Primary Care Network footprint) working together to vaccinate their collective population.
Roving service – the vaccine is being taken into care homes and into people’s own homes if they cannot attend a vaccination site. This is being stepped up over the coming weeks as more supplies of the vaccines become available. GP surgeries are in the processing of contacting their housebound patients in order to schedule their vaccinations. Any housebound patients who have not been contacted for vaccine should contact their local GP surgery.
Mass vaccination centres & pharmacy sites: Mass vaccination centres are located in Eastbourne and Brighton. Brighton has the capacity to vaccinate over 3,000 people each day and Eastbourne over 1,000. People who are eligible can book an appointment through a national booking system and will receive their vaccine by teams from Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, who are running the service. These centres all those who are eligible another way to receive their vaccine, in addition to their local GP-led vaccination services.
Pharmacy-led sites have opened in Ticehurst, Hastings. Patients in receipt of an NHS letter can choose to book into a pharmacy-led site through the national booking system. If the options for these do not appear, this will be because the slots have already been taken. More slots will open up when supplies of vaccine are confirmed. It would therefore be helpful to ring or log into the site at a different time if a pharmacy site nearer to you is your preference.
The national NHS booking service will be writing to eligible people providing them all the details they need to book an appointment online or over the phone. Anyone receiving a letter from the national booking service can choose whether to book an appointment at a vaccination centre, or wait until they are contacted by their GP for a local appointment if that would be more convenient.
The increase in the number of vaccination sites going live for local residents over the past weeks has been as a result of the great work of our local NHS teams. Some areas faced more challenges to get services up and running, such as Rural Rother (which includes Battle) and Heathfield (including its surrounds) and Hailsham. However, most of these areas are now being well-served by GP and pharmacy-led vaccination services and supplemented by the mass vaccination centres. The provision in Eastern Rother remains a challenge for residents who are registered with GP practices nearer to Rye. I and Sally-Ann Hart, MP for Hastings and Rye and I have been working closely with the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust to provide a solution. I hope an announcement on an additional vaccination centre in this area is imminent.
Bexhill and surrounds:
The nearest site for Bexhill residents, and those nearby, is at Sidley Medical Practice. This vaccination site was the first to go live in the constituency and has been vaccinating patients since 29 December. it has been set up and is being run and resourced by the following Bexhill GP practices in order to vaccinate their patients:
Collington Surgery, Little Common Surgery, Pebsham Surgery and Sidley Medical Practice
Pevensey and surrounds:
Sovereign Centre is the site for patients at:
Arlington Road Surgery, Grove Road Surgery, Park Practice, Seaside Medical Centre, and The Lighthouse Medical Practice
Princes Park Health Centre, for patients at:
Harbour Medical Practice, Sovereign Practice, Stone Cross Surgery in Pevensey, and Downlands Medical Centre and Manor Park Surgery, both in Polegate
Rural Rother (including Battle)
Rural Rother GP practices are served by a vaccination hub at Etchingham village hall which began its first vaccinations on 20 January.
The GP led vaccination service at Etchingham Village Hall is a partnership between Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust and the following GP practices: Fairfield Surgery, Ferry Road Health Centre, Martins Oak Surgery, Northiam and Broad Oak Surgery, Oldwood Surgery, Rye Medical Centre, and Sedlescombe and Westfield Surgeries.
I have had a number of constituents contact me from Rother Levels asking why they need to travel to Etchingham. The reason is that the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at very low temperatures, which is why large sites needed to be set up to deliver a significant number of vaccines every day. This is also why people who are being vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine need to travel to the hub to get the vaccine.
Whilst it’s great news that Etchingham has started vaccinating I am still pushing for a solution in Battle and rural Rother. I am working closely with our local NHS on an almost daily basis about further locations in the area and how the vaccination can be offered from GP practices to make it as easy as possible for people to receive this vaccination. However, for this to be viable we need greater supplies of the Astra Zeneca vaccine.
I’ve asked the Vaccines Minister and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to consider a more simplified contract for GPs which is less onerous on opening hours and would see the GPs in this area take Astra Zeneca only. The Pfizer vaccines which have more challenging storage and transportation should be focussed at the bigger venues.
Update for Rural Rother second vaccination:
As people are being invited for their second vaccination, there are some changes to the location of appointments for people in Rural Rother.
For their second dose, anyone who received the Pfizer vaccine for their first vaccination, will be invited to attend the King's Church vaccination service in Hastings for their second dose. Anyone who received the AstraZenaca vaccine for the first dose will be invited to attend the Etchingham vaccination service for their second. It is important you have the same type of vaccine for both doses.
This allows the Etchingham team to continue to focus on first doses and making sure that everyone in the priority groups has the opportunity to receive their vaccination, alongside those who need a second AstraZeneca dose. It has also been arranged as the Hastings service is carrying out their second dose Pfizer clinics at the same time, and has plenty of space for people to have this vaccine and to be observed for the required time after they have received it.
Transport support is available for anyone who needs it. If you have no means to get to your vaccination appointment, you are now able to book a free return journey to help you to attend. Please call the travel coordinator on 07871 603 235 The booking service is available between 10:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00 Monday to Friday.
Heathfield and its surrounds
COVID-19 vaccinations are being carried out by GP practice sites in the Greater Wealden Primary Care Network, including Heathfield surgery. Patients can also attend one of the mass vaccination centres or pharmacy sites.
Punnetts Town, Rushlake Green & Dallington
A number of my constituents are registered with GP surgeries which are part of the Hailsham and District Primary Care Network (PCN). The latest information for these patients is as follows:
GPs from the three surgeries which serve Hailsham and its surrounds – Bridgeside Surgery, Hailsham Medical Group and The Quintins Medical Centre – are working in partnership with Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust to provide the vaccination to their patients, starting with those over the age of 80.
Vaccinations are taking place individually by teams at each GP practice.
Travel to Vaccination Sites:
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:
- 07871 603 235 for East Sussex 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.
Please be aware that under government guidelines a family member or friend is permitted to take a person to their COVID-19 vaccine appointment, which is classed as an exemption as it is a ‘medical appointment’. Guidance on how to do this safely is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#private-cars-and-other-vehicles (scroll down to ‘Car sharing’).
When going for a vaccination
- People are asked not to arrive early for appointments. Arriving on time will help manage numbers at the site and help to keep everyone safe.
- Always remember Hands, Face, Space. It will save lives and help the NHS.
Vaccination Types and Logistics Challenges
When the vaccine programme was developed, it was hoped that GP surgeries would inoculate their own patients. The Pfizer vaccine was the first vaccine to be approved. It has logistical challenges with its deployment and this has led to a number of GP surgeries, particularly in rural areas, being unable to participate. With the Astra Zeneca vaccine now approved, rural areas may now be better served as supplies arrive.
The following vaccines have now been approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency:
This was the first vaccine to be approved for use but it has logistical challenges (including transportation type and storage conditions of minus 70C). As a result of the challenges, GP surgeries have formed Primary Care Networks in order to provide one centre to deliver the vaccine. East Sussex has two areas where no such network has been able to source a centre. The Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust has worked in partnership with the local GPs to find premises.
This was signed off for use at the beginning of January. This vaccine can be stored at fridge-temperature levels and is therefore more effective for GP surgeries to use along the lines of the flu jab. It is hoped, as more supplies become available, that residents in Rural Rother (including Battle) and Heathfield, and its surrounds, will be able to receive it locally, via their GP surgery, and not be required to travel longer distances to receive a vaccine. Residential care settings are also better able to deliver this vaccine. As care home residences are the highest priority for the vaccination, this may have an impact on supplies to surgeries.
This has just been signed off as the latest vaccine. It requires storage of minus 20C (equivalent to a freezer). We await supplies in the UK and have an order in for 17 million.
Supplies and Logistical challenges
The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the Astra Zeneca (enough to inoculate 50 million people) and 40 million of the Pfizer vaccine. Combined, these will inoculate the entire population. There are other vaccine candidates which are being trialled and for which the UK has orders in.
Regardless of the orders, the vaccinations are in short supply and we need to be more upfront in saying this in national media. The Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust do not put supply orders in; they get what is made available and this could be either of the two vaccines. I have urgently lobbied the Vaccines Minister to ask for more Astra-Zeneca for the rural areas.
As of today, the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust have been told how much of the vaccine, and what type, will be delivered for this week. They have been assured that there are sufficient numbers to vaccinate all of the first four priority groups by 15 February.
Nationally, we are aiming to vaccinate 15 million people (the first 4 of the 9 current priority groups) by 15 February. This is an ambitious target given the supply requirements so I wish to personally caveat the end date. I’m doing all I can to ensure constituents are in the earlier part of this dateline.
In Sussex, 70,000 vaccinations have been delivered. As a comparison, Surrey have delivered 38,000 and the combined counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckingham have delivered 68,000. We expect each of the prioritisation groups to be delivered across East Sussex before the next cohort is vaccinated (so those in areas of the county where it is slower to start will have to catch up).
Priority Vaccination Groups and numbers
The Sussex Community NHS Foundation is working to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible but deploying a vaccine at this scale is unprecedented. Timing will be dependent to a large extent on manufacturing timescales and supply.
We have to be realistic that this enormous logistical task is going to take some time to get completely up and running, but good progress is already being made. The Government has set a target of vaccinating the four top priority groups (over 13 million people) by the middle of February, and I will continue to do all I can as the local MP to support the efforts of the CCG in ensuring we meet this target. This week the Prime Minister announced that 2.4 million people have been vaccinated. Across, Sussex, as of Saturday 9 January, 70,000 residents have been vaccinated. This compares to 38,000 in Surrey and 68,000 across the combined counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunity advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age. The order of priority groups for vaccination are as follows:
1. Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers.
2. All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
3. All those 75 years of age and over
4. All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
5. All those 65 years of age and over
6. All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
7. All those 60 years of age and over
8. All those 55 years of age and over
9. All those 50 years of age and over
It is estimated that taken together, these groups represent around 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19. The statistics on the number of people that have been vaccinated will be released daily online and I will be monitoring this data, and the progress being made, closely.
I know that work is continuing to set out future priorities and I will be studying this carefully. The committee is currently of the view that the key focus for the second phase of vaccination could be on further preventing hospitalisation. Vaccination of those at increased risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 due to their occupation could also be a priority in the next phase. This could include first responders, the military, those involved in the justice system, teachers, transport workers, and public servants essential to the pandemic response.
The Health Secretary has committed to ensure that everyone who needs it will be fully vaccinated by Autumn. This should give comfort to those who do not qualify within the 9 priority groups.
Vaccination for Care Home staff and residents
Vaccination teams from GP-led services and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, Sussex have met the government target to vaccinate older care home residents by the end of January 2021.
A small remainder of homes in Sussex had visits deferred for safety reasons, following a risk assessment, during local outbreaks. These remaining homes have now all had vaccination visits.
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 Sussex, we have one of the highest numbers of nursing and care homes per capita across the country and so this was a significant undertaking.
NHS staff were the first to receive vaccinations in the hospital hubs. There are 70,000 NHS and care worker staff who need to receive the vaccine in East Sussex. Care Home staff are being vaccinated alongside residents are or via the hospital hubs. This will include agency, domiciliary and nursing staff.
Thank you to all of the NHS and Caring staff who are doing such an amazing job.
From 13 January care staff have been invited to book their appointments at hospital and further information can be found at this link https://www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/keepsussexsafe/sussex-covid-19-vaccination-programme/workforcevax/
Self-employed care workers and personal assistants (ie those not registered with an agency or care home should contact East Sussex County Council to arrange for a vaccination appointment. More details are at this link https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/socialcare/providers/covid-19-asc/pa/
Vaccinations for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Groups (CEV)
National invite letters have been sent to those Clinically Extremely Vulnerable in Sussex.
People aged 18 and over in the clinically extremely vulnerable priority group should have received letters from the national booking service inviting them to book a vaccination appointment.
People in this priority group are those in the Shielded Patient List and includes those who are undergoing cancer treatment, people who have severe respiratory conditions and those who are at risk of severe infection due to immunodeficiency.
The letters make it clear that people have a choice of where to get vaccinated and can choose to wait for their GP led vaccination services to make contact directly, if they haven’t already, or book into a vaccination centre or community pharmacy via the national website or phone number.
If people in the eligible groups want to receive the vaccination at your GP led vaccination service, you do not need to do anything; you will remain on the list for the GP led vaccination service and they will contact you as soon as an appointment is available. Please do not call your GP practice or any local venues which are being used for the vaccination service on specific days; you will be contacted directly in the next two weeks.
If you are an unpaid or informal carer, aged 18 or over, who is in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, or if you are already registered as a carer by your GP, you can book your appointment right away at one of the larger vaccination centres through the national booking service or by calling 119. Alternatively, you can wait to be contacted for an appointment by your local GP-led vaccination service. If you are registered with the GP as a carer for a person who is eligible because of an underlying health condition, you might be offered appointments together. If you are a young carer aged 16-18, please wait to be contacted by your local GP as they will need to arrange for you to receive the Pfizer vaccine. If you are a carer who is not in receipt of Carers Allowance or registered as a carer by your GP, more information will be available shortly on how you will be identified and invited for vaccination.
Many people providing care for someone who could not manage without their support are currently not registered as an unpaid carer. Those who are not already registered with a carers’ organisation, may wish to do so.
Registering with a local carers’ organisation means you can get information and support when you need it most. You can also be kept up to date with plans for carers’ vaccinations as more details become available.
- In East Sussex: Care for the Carers; 01323 738 390; firstname.lastname@example.org
- In West Sussex: Carers Support West Sussex; 0300 0288888
- In Brighton & Hove: The Carers Centre for Brighton and Hove. Register via Carers Hub or call 01273 977 000 for more information
- Parent Carers across Sussex: Amaze; email@example.com; 01273 772289
Further information on the roll-out of the local Covid-19 vaccination programme can be found at this link to the Sussex Health and Care Partnership https://www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/keepsussexsafe/sussex-covid-19-vaccination-programme/
For information about local vaccination sites:
Frequently Asked Questions (being constantly updated) – https://www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/keepsussexsafe/sussex-covid-19-vaccination-programme/faqs-about-the-covid-19-vaccine/
The CCG have set up a dedicated inbox for enquiries about the vaccination programme. If you have any queries please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org