COVID update 29th January 2021
More good news this week as a further 2 vaccine trails have proved successful and now await approval for use by the MHRA regulator. The Novavax vaccine is particularly exciting as it has been researched in the UK, has been shown to be effective against the Kent and South Africa variants with an efficacy of around 90%, will be produced at Stockton-on-Tees and as a traditional protein based vaccine is quite flexible and can be stored in a fridge.
On the basis of what happened with earlier vaccines it is likely that the MHRA could take up to a month to grant approval and the vaccine will be available from early March. Given the rumpus going on between the EU and AstraZeneca, where approval was only given by the EU regulator today in any case, it is even more important that we have a good spread of vaccines available from now potentially at least 5 international suppliers, with most produced in the UK. The Government has made it clear however that whatever happens with the EU we remain on course to have vaccinated all those who want a vaccination in the top 4 priority groups by mid-February. Sufficient supplies will also be earmarked to make sure second doses of the same vaccine will be available before the end of the 12-week gap.
There are 2 research studies going on in the UK to determine whether people who have been vaccinated can still pass on the virus. Israel is also undertaking its own research as the only other country sufficiently advanced with vaccinations to be able to undertake meaningful research and results are expected in the next 4-5 weeks. This is very important to determine what precautions vaccinated people still need to take.
There is better news from our local hospitals this week as infection rates have fallen substantially reflecting the national trend. Adur and Worthing infection rates are now both below the England average.
As at yesterday, there were 93 COVID patients in Worthing Hospital including 11 in ITU. That is down from 123 last week, including 20 in ITU. St Richards has fallen similarly from a total of 132 to 95 with ITU down from 15 to 11, and at the Sussex County in Brighton there is now a total of 134 patients including 35 in ITU compared with 179 and 38 respectively last week. Sadly, the number of deaths at Worthing increased by a further 20 people.
𝐕𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 – 𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥/𝐫𝐞𝐠𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞
- Nationally, some 7,891,184 people have received a jab, which includes around 440,000 in the last 24 hours. Vaccinations will continue over the weekend in many of the 2700 sites nationally and fresh supplies are expected locally next week.
- Some 2 million letters have started to go out, inviting those aged over 75 for vaccination
- Across Sussex 225,368 vaccinations have been given in total with over 72,000 of those in West Sussex. Over 76% of those aged over 80 in West Sussex have now been vaccinated. Across Sussex 91% of people in adult care homes have been vaccinated. Where there has been an outbreak of COVID and vaccination was not possible they will be revisited 28 days after the date of the initial outbreak.
𝐕𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 – 𝐥𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞
- Across West Sussex around 40% of those aged over 70 have already received the vaccine
- Everyone aged over 80 should have received a letter or call from their GP to attend and all who respond should have been given the vaccination by the end of next week. Where people have not responded, the surgeries will continue to try to make contact through a variety of means
- Every adult care home in the East Worthing & Shoreham constituency has been vaccinated with one exception due to a recent COVID outbreak.
- The Brighton mass vaccination Centre has been working flat out everyday since last Monday and the Crawley centre will be ready to go live on Monday. Letters for the over 70’s have started arriving from today. Remember - if you receive a letter from the national register inviting you to attend Brighton or Crawley you can take no action and still obtain a vaccination from your local surgery hub.
- People using the Brighton Centre have been asked only to arrive 5 minutes or so before your booked in time as people arriving far too early have been causing unnecessary queues. It is a very efficient straight in/out system when it works, and you have 1-hour free parking at the Churchill Square Orange car park on showing proof of your appointment.
- Some housebound people have been vaccinated. These ‘roving’ vaccinators are being organised either by the local surgeries, by the local surgery and Sussex Community Health Trust combined or by the Sussex Community Health Trust depending on local capability. The roll-out is therefore inevitably a bit ‘lumpy’ and please be patient. If you can get to a surgery that does speed things up.
- Patients who are staying in the main acute hospitals such as Worthing will be vaccinated there if they are in the top 4 tiers and therefore eligible but only if their illness allows it to be done safely. It is not appropriate to vaccinate everyone in hospital.
- Thank you for all the offers of additional sites to be set up as vaccine hubs but there are currently enough hubs identified across West Sussex and nearly all are now up and running. I have been passing on offers to the Community Trust.
- The supplies of Pfizer and the AstraZeneca vaccines are approximately 50/50 at the moment in case some people may potentially have a particular reaction to one type of vaccine but again your GP will decide on this.
Some surgeries have very interactive social media sites where you can find more localised information. Doctor David Stokes of the St Lawrence surgery in Worthing has been producing some helpful podcasts for example which you can find here:
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