The NHS in Sussex will begin vaccinating patients against coronavirus this week, starting at the Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH) in Brighton. The RSCH will be the first Sussex site to receive the vaccine, with deliveries expected to all Sussex acute hospital sites over the coming weeks. These sites will be known as Hospital Hubs.
Patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, will be among the first to receive the vaccine.
The Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has said that vaccines should first be given to care home residents and staff, people aged over 80 and health and care workers before being rolled out to the rest of the population in order of age and risk.
Delivering the Pfizer vaccine is complex as it needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain before being used. This makes it very difficult to deliver in care homes at present. While safe and effective ways to overcome these challenges are being developed, care home staff will be invited to receive the vaccine from the hospital hubs and other sites as they come online.
Health and care staff will also be eligible to receive the vaccine alongside the over 80s and care home staff, starting with the most vulnerable. The arrival of a safe, effective vaccine is a remarkable scientific breakthrough but we know that delivering it will be a marathon and not a sprint.
We will be working with care home employers to identify staff who can attend an appointment at a local hospital hub. And as slots for health and care staff become available, eligible people will be contacted by their employer.
In addition to hospital hubs at other acute sites across Sussex, we are expecting 11 GP-led local vaccination services, through their Primary Care Networks, to start to come online over the coming weeks, with more to follow in a phased manner. Larger vaccination centres will also be established as further supplies of vaccine come on stream.
Staff from across Sussex will be supporting this historic vaccination effort. Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust are leading the work to recruit and train more staff – both clinical and non-clinical – so that the NHS in Sussex can deliver this unprecedented immunisation programme without impacting on other vital services. Visit www.ksscovid.nhs.uk to find out more.
We are now asking the public to do three things to help as we roll out vaccinations:
- The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn, so please be patient until then.
- Please act on your invite when it comes, and make sure you attend your appointments.
- Remember Hands, Face, Space. It will save lives and help the NHS.
For straightforward steps to keep yourself and others safe and get help if you need it, visit www.keepsussexsafe.uk
We hope that this is useful and we will continue to keep you updated.
Online updates will be here: https://www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/keepsussexsafe/sussex-covid-19-vaccination-programme/
Chief Nursing Officer, Sussex Commissioners
Senior Responsible Officer, Sussex COVID-19 Vaccination Programme