Vaccinations for COVID-19: The approach in East Sussex

The 8th December 2020 marked the start of the UK’s largest vaccination campaign, beginning in Hospital Hubs across the country.  

This follows the rollout of a coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, which has now been approved for use in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).


Who will get the vaccine?

Vaccinations are being prioritised, with those most at risk of complications from Covid-19 being offered the vaccine first.

This includes older adults, those in care homes and frontline health and social care workers. It follows advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

When more vaccine becomes available, the vaccines will be offered to other people at risk as soon as possible. This includes: 

  • those aged over 80 years
  • those aged over 75 years
  • those aged over 70 years
  • adults on the NHS shielded patient list

The NHS is not expecting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be widely available until 2021. 

Six other vaccines are in different stages of development, and it is hoped that others may also be approved for use in the near future.


How will the Covid-19 vaccine be rolled out in East Sussex?

The NHS is planning to deliver the vaccination programme in three main ways:

  1. Hospital Hubs
    (where the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine can be stored safely)
  2. Local Vaccine Services – provided by GPs and pharmacies
  3. Vaccination Centres – large sites convenient for transport networks

The NHS has started first stage of the vaccine rollout in Hospital Hubs and is now starting the second phase which is the rollout through GPs.

As further types and quantities of vaccine become available, so the method and location of vaccinations may change.

Further information on the vaccination programme in East Sussex will be updated on the Sussex Health and Care Partnership Website.


When can I get the Covid-19 vaccine?

The NHS has told us that individuals will be contacted directly when it is their turn to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

Until you are contacted:

  • Please be patient and do not contact or visit any NHS services seeking a Covid-19 vaccine until you receive a letter or text from NHS providers.

  • Please continue to abide by all the social distancing and hand hygiene guidance, which will still save lives.

If you have not yet been approached about having the Covid-19 vaccination, please read the information: why you are being asked to wait


Beware of Vaccination Scams!

Scammers have already sought to piggy-back on the Covid-19 vaccination programme and people are receiving fraudulent calls and text messages. So please be alert and vigilant!

People are asked to press a number on their keypad or to send a text message to confirm they wish to receive the vaccine – doing so is likely to result in a charge being applied to their phone bill. Callers are offering the vaccine for a fee or asking for bank details.

The vaccine is only available from the NHS and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn. At present, appointments are only being offered to the public over 80 years old.

The NHS will:

  • NEVER ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text to confirm you want the vaccine.

  • NEVER ask for payment or for your bank details.

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.


What Healthwatch East Sussex is doing

We are working with the local NHS and other services as they prepare to roll out the Covid-19 vaccination programme in East Sussex.

This includes helping them to clearly communicate what is happening to local people and making them aware of any questions or issues that arise.

We know that there are lots of questions about both the vaccines and how they will be delivered.

Please tell us send us any questions that you may have and we will do our best to find the answers for you. This will help NHS staff to focus on delivering the vaccine and protecting local people.

Answers to most frequently asked questions will be shared on our website and social media. so that we can share these with the NHS, to help them deliver the vaccine and protect local people.


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