Local COVID update
The update I posted on local vaccine roll-out has now reached almost 32,000 people with a lot of very favourable feedback, so I thought I had better make it a regular thing. After MP briefings with the Sussex Community NHS Trust, ministers and others earlier today here is a readout on progress and I will continue to add to my website and Facebook posts as I receive more news.
Staff at Worthing Hospital continue to work like Trojans as cases are again up on last week. Last Saturday there were 115 COVID patients at Worthing against 141 today, including around 16 in ICU. That figure is however slightly off the peak earlier in the week but still very substantially ahead of the levels reached in the spring lockdown. It looks as though we are hopefully going through the peak period as infection rates in London and the South-East have been declining in the last week but that takes a week or so to filter through to hospital admissions.
As usual thank you to all our NHS heroes for everything they are doing. I am pleased to report that over 62% of staff in Western Sussex Hospitals Trust have now received a vaccination jab. Inevitably elective non-COVID operations are in many cases being delayed again underlining how important it is to get COVID cases needing hospital down to free up bed space for others.
- Virtually all the 80 GP practices across West Sussex are now covered. The three Lancing and Sompting practices using Lancing Parish Hall start tomorrow and will work through the weekend and into next week with an initial allocation of 975 Pfizer vaccine doses. Thanks to the many volunteers who have come forward to help out with the logistics. I will be joining them next week.
- This week across West Sussex 15,600 Pfizer vaccines and 3900 Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doses have been administered. The AZ vaccine is likely to increase substantially as additional supplies come online next week.
- Nationally we are on course to have 2700 vaccination centres identified across the UK by the end of this month including GP surgeries, local hubs, hospital hubs, regional hubs, pharmacies and others.
- The Brighton Centre mass vaccination hub should go live on January 25th initially offering 1500 vaccinations a day with that doubling by March to take account of second jabs and younger groups in particular from then. A second mass vaccination hub in Crawley will start at the beginning of February at the Bognor Health Centre with a 500 a day capacity to start with, doubling by mid-February. A third mass hub will start in Bognor in late February with a similar capacity.
- On the priority categories we are well ahead of the national level for vaccinations given in care homes with residents over the age of 65. It remains the top priority to have vaccinated all those residents by January 24th given the recent rise in infection rates again, which may delay this for a few homes where there has been an outbreak.
- We are in line with the national roll-out rate for vaccinating people over 80. All people over 80 should by now have received a letter notifying them about vaccination arrangements.
- Contrary to concerns about left-over vaccine being wasted at the end of the day there is very little evidence of this locally. All practices operate a ‘contingency list’ and as they work through the invited list during the day then additional people are invited to attend later on that day to fill in for no-shows or people who have withdrawn for whatever reason. Just today 2 constituents who contacted me this morning because they had not yet been called unlike many of their friends were given slots later this afternoon.
- Some people have received invitations to have a jab at the regional hub at Epsom racecourse. If you are able to get their easily then take it if you have not yet received a local invite. If you do not take up the regional offer you will still be offered a local jab soon after that.
- If you are living away from home with relatives for example and have received a letter to attend for a vaccination at your home GP surgery but are unable to travel there you are able to receive the vaccine locally with another practice even if you are not registered there.
All in all, the vaccine rollout is going very smoothly, and I have been inundated with comments from people saying how efficient the whole experience was. Inevitably there will continue to be ‘teething problems’ and I am aware that some surgeries have been more proactive than others but for the largest national vaccination mobilisation in our history within weeks of the vaccines being approved I think most people are pretty impressed.
Thank you also for the feedback about the improved shopping arrangements at Tesco Holmbush today following my meeting with Tesco management yesterday, as I reported on my Facebook post.
If you have a query that is not answered here or on my website, then do email me or there is a dedicated email box on the Sussex Community NHS Trust site www.sussexcommunity.nhs.uk