13th May 2021


Today, Healthwatch East Sussex is publishing our report into the feedback provided by nearly two thousand people on the COVID-19 vaccination process.

During February and March, our public survey captured the experiences of 1,558 people who have been vaccinated and the views of 297 about receiving one in the future.

Overall feedback suggests that the vaccination process has been delivered efficiently and in a form accessible by the majority between December and March. However, some people with specific needs experienced challenges in accessing vaccinations and a portion of the population have concerns about the need for everyone to receive a vaccination and the safety of the vaccines.

We heard that an overwhelming majority of people (98%) receiving a COVID-19 vaccination would recommend having one to their family and friends and 97% of vaccination recipients felt very safe or safe at vaccination sites. Many people provided positive feedback on the process, with one respondent commenting “Extremely pleased with the whole experience & very thankful to the NHS.”.

The most common reasons people gave for accepting a vaccination were to protect their family, friends and loved ones or themselves (both 98%), but other common reasons were combating COVID-19, getting back to normal as soon as possible and feeling that it was their responsibility to receive one.

Some anxieties were identified amongst those vaccinated, most commonly related to post-jab side-effects being more severe than anticipated, the long-term effects of the vaccine and receiving dates for their second vaccination in a timely fashion. Our recommendations ask that clear information is and continues to be provided on these themes, before, during and after vaccinations.

Other issues people commented on concerned the information they received at all stages of the vaccination process, the complexities of vaccination bookings and how to get responses to any questions or queries. Some variations were identified in how and when information was provided, with differences causing confusion for some.

Whilst a majority (61%) of those yet to receive a vaccination would definitely or are likely to accept one, 24% were definitely or are likely to reject one and 16% had already declined one.

Of those wanting to be vaccinated, nearly two-thirds (63%) indicated nothing would stop them from receiving it, however, some people highlighted issues around transport to, and access at sites. We heard that people have a preference for local vaccination sites with flexible access and we are recommending that the NHS explores how this can be delivered alongside support with transport to vaccinations for those that need it. 

The most common reasons for not wishing to receive a COVID-19 vaccination were a retention of personal choice (67%), a desire to wait and see if issues arise with the vaccine (61%) and concerns about vaccine safety (55%). We have recommended that clear and comprehensive information on vaccination safety and effectiveness is provided regularly so that it may be used to inform people’s decision-making.

Our report summarises the responses we received and makes 13 recommendations targeted at reinforcing existing good practice, identifying areas for improvement and requesting ongoing monitoring of the vaccination process. We will work in partnership with commissioners and providers to explore how these may be acted on.

The headline results from the survey are also being combined with those from parallel initiatives in Brighton & Hove and West Sussex, which together offer the views of nearly 6,000 people.

All of this insight is being shared with health and care organisations and decision-makers to inform the ongoing vaccination programme in East Sussex. This includes the Sussex Vaccination Programme Board, the East Sussex Vaccine Health Inequality Oversight Group and the East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Healthwatch East Sussex will continue to monitor the vaccination process and seek feedback from the public. Please share your vaccination experience or views on vaccines with us via enquiries@healthwatcheastsussex.co.uk

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