Updates on the COVID-19 vaccination programme in West Sussex

Take a look at what you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccination programme, including how you will know when it's your turn, where to go, and why it's important.
Woman getting her vaccination


Last updated on 17 November 2021.

To check the latest Government guidance please visit Gov.uk.

We all have an important part to play to help the NHS deliver their vaccine delivery plan:

  • When you are contacted, please book and attend your appointment(s);
  • Turn up to your appointment on time, do not arrive early or late as the vaccination centres cannot accommodate you.

It is essential that everyone continues to follow key COVID-19 precautions, whether they have had the vaccine or not. These include testing when you have symptoms and isolating when you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

For the latest information about the vaccine go to the NHS website.

Booster Vaccination Information

After the Government announced a huge drive to vaccinate against Covid-19 before January, there has been some confusion. We have created a poster explaining how to get your booster.

Booster Vaccination Information - December 2021

Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 vaccine

Here are some FAQs to help you get the information you need to know about the biggest vaccination programme in history. 

Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?

If you are aged 16 and over, you can get a 1st and 2nd dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Most children and young people aged 12 to 15 are only being offered a 1st dose unless you have a higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 or live with someone at high risk of catching it.

If you are aged 16 or over

All those aged 16 or over can book their vaccination through the NHS booking service. You can also call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.

You can also find a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site to get vaccinated without needing an appointment. Or you can wait to be contacted by your GP and book your appointment with them.

If you are aged 12 to 15

All children aged 12 to 15 will be offered a 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine. You can get your vaccine at school or you can book a vaccination appointment online

If you live with someone who is more likely to get infections, or you have a condition that means you are at high-risk from COVID-19, you will be offered two doses of the vaccine. 

Children will be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Most vaccinations will be delivered through a school-based vaccination programme, the same as for HPV and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio.

If you receive home schooling, are in secure services, or specialist mental health settings, then provision will be put in place to ensure you are still offered one dose of the vaccine.

Parental, guardian or carer consent will be sought before vaccinations are given in line with existing school vaccination programme policies.

Find out how many people have had the COVID-19 vaccine in Sussex

Sussex Health and Care Partnership show total vaccination numbers in Sussex on their website. To find out the latest numbers click here.

How long between my first and second dose of the vaccine?

You will receive your second dose up to 8-12 weeks after the first, regardless of the vaccine type. The second dose completes the course and is important for longer term protection.

How do I book my second dose of the vaccine?

You'll need to book a 2nd dose for 8 to 12 weeks after your 1st dose.

Will I be offered a booster shot?

You can get a booster dose if you had a 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 3 months ago and:

  • you are aged 18 or over
  • you are aged 16 or over with a health condition that puts you at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
  • you are a frontline health or social care worker
  • you live or work in a care home
  • you are aged 16 or over and are a main carer for someone at high risk from COVID-19
  • you are aged 16 or over and live with someone who has a weakened immune system (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)

People who are pregnant and in 1 of the eligible groups can also get a booster dose.

How and when to get your COVID-19 booster vaccine?

If you're eligible, you'll be offered a booster dose at least 3 months after you had your 2nd dose.

Most people can:

  • book a vaccination appointment online for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy
  • go to a walk-in vaccination site to get vaccinated without needing an appointment
  • wait to be contacted by a local NHS service such as a GP surgery and book an appointment with them

People who work for an NHS trust or a care home will usually get their booster dose through their employer.

Book your appointment

Will I be offered a third dose?

People aged 12 years or older who had a severely weakened immune system at the time they had their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine may be offered a third vaccine dose. This is different to the booster shots being offered.

This is because you may not have responded as well as other people and a third dose may help to improve your immune response and give you better protection.

People who may be offered a third dose include those who had or have:

  • blood cancers (such as leukaemia or lymphoma)
  • lowered immunity due to treatment (such as steroid medication, biological therapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
  • lowered immunity due to inherited disorders of the immune system
  • an organ or bone marrow transplant
  • diseases that affect the immune system such as poorly controlled HIV
  • other diseases or treatments as advised by your specialist

Your GP will be in contact with your specialist and the NHS will let you know if you need a third dose and when and where to have the vaccine. Government guidance is available if you have further questions.

Which COVID-19 vaccine will I get?

Most people will be offered a booster dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or Moderna vaccine.

This means your booster dose may be different from the vaccines you had for your 1st and 2nd doses.

Some people may be offered a booster dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if they cannot have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

Are there any side effects?

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them.

You should not have the vaccine if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction to:

  • any of the ingredients in the vaccine
  • a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine

Serious allergic reactions are rare. If you do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens in minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

I need help getting to my vaccination appointment

If you need help getting to your appointment, you can 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?

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.

I'm pregnant, can I still get the vaccine?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.

There have been no specific safety concerns identified with any brand of COVID-19 vaccines in relation to pregnancy. 

It is preferable for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available. There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but more research is needed.

Women who are planning pregnancy, are in the immediate postpartum or are breastfeeding can be vaccinated with any vaccine, depending on their age and clinical risk group. To find out more visit our maternity support advice and information page.

Do I have to have the COVID-19 vaccine even though I've already had COVID-19?

An effective vaccine is the best way to protect people from COVID-19, reduce hospitalisations and save lives. Vaccines are the only way to eradicate disease. 

People that have already had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated. It is still just as important for those who have already had COVID-19 as it is for those who haven’t.  

Is the COVID-19 vaccine compulsory?

There are no plans to make the COVID-19 vaccine compulsory for the general population. Following consultation earlier this year, from 11 November 2021 people who work in care homes – both staff and volunteers – will need to be fully vaccinated. There are some exemptions and the requirement to be fully vaccinated will not extend to people who are visiting friends and families.

Do I need to self-isolate if I'm fully vaccinated?

If you’re fully vaccinated or under 18, you will not need to self-isolate following close contact with someone who has COVID-19. You’ll still need to take a PCR test and self-isolate if it’s positive. Read the latest guidance to find out when you should self-isolate.

How do I prove my vaccine status?

An NHS COVID Pass shows your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination details or test results. This is your COVID-19 status. You may be asked to show your pass to get into some events, where the COVID Pass is being trialed, or to travel abroad.

A digital COVID pass is available through the NHS App or the NHS website. A paper version is also available online.

The NHS App and/or the NHS COVID pass doesn't accurately reflect my vaccination record, what do I do? 

The Vaccination Data Resolution Service aims to resolve missing or incorrect vaccination records for people vaccinated in England, Scotland or Wales who have a current NHS number and are registered with a GP practice in England. If you believe you have missing or incorrect COVID-19 vaccination data, please call 119 and ask the call agent to make a referral to the VDRS team on your behalf. The VDRS team will then aim to call you back within 21 days. 

If you aren't registered with a GP, you will need to contact your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for assistance. You can find the CCG that covers the area where you live through this CCG list.

What does a vaccine do?

Vaccines teach your immune system how to create antibodies that protect you from diseases. It's much safer for your immune system to learn this through vaccination than by catching the diseases and treating them. Once a vaccine has trained your immune system to know how to fight a disease, it can often protect you for many years. 

Are vaccines safe?

Vaccines are now safer than ever before. Any vaccine must first go through the usual rigorous testing and development process and be shown to strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness before it can be deployed.

How do I feedback or complain about the NHS COVID-19 vaccine service?

If you are unhappy with the service you have received, it is important to let the NHS know. To provide feedback, raise a concern or make a complaint, please email england.contactus@nhs.net

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.

Got a question?

If you have more questions about the COVID-19 vaccination programme you can find more information on the NHS website or contact us here.


For Government resources, information and leaflets:

Want your NHS communications to be easy to understand? Tell us about your #ConfusingComms

We are asking local people to send examples of their poorly written NHS communications (letters, emails, texts). With your support, we will help the NHS learn how to improve their communications so that patients feel more confident to attend their appointments.

Share your #ConfusingComms