Update: Everyone aged 45 and over can get the COVID-19 vaccine.
You can book appointments at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy now, or wait to be invited to go to a local NHS service.
Latest update on the AstraZeneca vaccine
Since the start of the pandemic over 4 million COVID-19 infections have been confirmed in the UK causing more than 120,000 deaths.
Over 30 million people have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine since the start of the programme, which Public Health England (PHE) estimate has prevented at least 6,000 deaths in the first three months of 2021.
Analysis of infection data since the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccines in the UK demonstrates that vaccination is highly effective and substantially reduces the risk of infection and severe COVID-19 disease.
All medical treatments have potential harms as well as potential benefits.
Recent reports of an extremely rare condition involving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and blood have understandably left some people with questions. For the vast majority of people the benefits of being vaccinated far outweigh the risks of blood clotting.
Who is eligible for a vaccination?
- people aged 45 and over
- people at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- people who live or work in care homes
- health and social care workers
- people with a condition that puts them at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
- people with a learning disability
- people who are a main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus
How do I book my vaccination?
The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination but anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
If a suitable and convenient slot is not available people can also call their GP practice.
Anyone who received a letter in 2021 asking them to shield, should also receive an invitation from their local family doctor as well as an invitation from the national booking service inviting them for a jab.
People in priority groups who are given a vaccination appointment by both their local GP team and the National Booking Service should cancel the one they do not want so the slot can be used by someone else.
Health and social care workers, who are also among the top four priority groups for vaccination, should speak to their employer about arranging their jab.
Unpaid carers include anyone who is eligible for a Carer’s Allowance, or anyone who is the main carer for someone whose welfare may be at risk if their carer fell ill.
Does that include parent carers?
Yes, across Sussex the NHS is including as many eligible parent carers as possible. In Sussex parent carers are eligible if they are caring for a child or young person up to 25, with a special educational need or disability that has a big effect on them every day.
As a guide, this usually means your child has, or is eligible for, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Education Health and Care (EHC) plan, a Compass or iGO Card, or is accessing services such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Does that include young carers (16- or 17-year olds)?
Yes, Sussex CCG are currently working with carers’ organisations and Local Authorities to identify a specific route to invite young carers to specific vaccination centres that are administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.
How can I get vaccinated?
Register with Carers Support West Sussex, who will help you access the local vaccination services via your GP led local vaccination service.
Where do I go for my vaccination?
In West Sussex, people in the eligible groups are able to receive their vaccination at either a GP led or local vaccination service, a larger vaccination centre such as the Brighton Centre, a local pharmacy service, or a roving service which is visiting care homes and those who are housebound.
All of these services are working alongside each other and provide people with choice to decide where they would like to receive their vaccination.
GP led or local vaccination services are contacting patients directly by phone, text or letter to book an appointment. People will also be contacted directly if they are housebound and not able to access a service.
Appointments at the larger vaccination centres and local pharmacy services are available through a national booking system and the letters set out how you can access this – both through a website and a phone line.
The letters are being sent to anyone in the eligible priority groups who live in a 60 mile radius from a vaccination centre or a local pharmacy service. It is important to say that this is not just in Sussex and if you live in proximity to a vaccination centre or pharmacy in Hampshire, Kent or Surrey, you are able to book for these and have your vaccination there.
If you have received a letter, you can either use the national booking system to arrange an appointment at a large vaccination centre or pharmacy, or you can leave the letter and you will continue to be contacted by your GP led or local vaccination service (supported by your GP practice) to arrange an appointment.
How can I get to my vaccination appointment?
Attending your vaccination appointment is an essential reason for travel. This means you are allowed to leave your home to attend your appointment.
For those who do not have access to a car, Government guidelines state that family and friends of elderly patients are still permitted to take them to their COVID-19 vaccine appointment under the exemption of ‘providing care for the vulnerable’.
If you need help getting to your appointment, you are now able to book a free return journey to help you attend.
To book free travel please book your vaccination appointment first and then call 01444 275 008 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.
What do I need to bring to my appointment?
- You must wear a face mask (unless you are exempt)
- Your booking reference numbers if your appointment is at a vaccination centre
If you need a carer, you can bring them with you on the day.
What do I need to wear? The vaccine will be given as an injection in the upper arm. It'll only take a few minutes to get the coronavirus vaccine. Make sure you wear a top/jumper that has loose arms that you can pull up, or take off.
Watch this animation: 'I have received a letter inviting me to book a vaccination appointment, what do I do?'
For Government resources, information and leaflets:
- Covid-19 vaccination - guide for older adults
- Covid-19 vaccination - what to expect after vaccination
- Covd-19 vaccination – why are you being asked to wait
- Covid-19 vaccination – women of childbearing age, currently pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Covid-19 vaccination – first phase priority groups
We will update our website with more details about the programme as they come through and if you have any questions or concerns, please do get in touch with us here at Healthwatch West Sussex:
0300 012 0122