Vaccinations for COVID-19

The UK’s largest vaccination campaign is underway
coronavirus covid 19
I am 83 and had my vaccination on the 9th January at the County Oak medical centre, Carden Hill. My husband is 82. It was very easy and very well organised. I received a text from my GP inviting me to have the vaccine and offering me a choice of times. My husband and I both had morning appointments. We drove and parked there. The queue was very short and well managed. We had our details checked and were quickly into a cubicle for the vaccination. Afterwards we rested for 15 minutes in a separate area. We were socially distanced at all times and surfaces were cleaned in the waiting area after use. It felt very safe at all times and all the personnel were very pleasant, kind and patient. Neither of us has had any side effects. We are grateful.
— Patient from Brighton

This webpage is being regularly updated. On this page you will find information about:

1. Key messages for everyone.

2. Links to Frequently Asked Questions, 'fact check' about vaccines, and other sources of information.

3. Details of vaccination scams to look out for.

4. Details of the roll-out of the vaccination. This includes information on GP sites, hospital hubs, large vaccination centres, and roving vaccination services.

5. Priority groups identified for vaccination. Information on Care Homes.

6. Help travelling to your appointment. What to expect at your appointment, and how you will be contacted.

7. Information about the vaccines, their effectiveness, and safety (including side effects).

8. How Brighton and Hove Healthwatch is helping, and how to contact us with your questions.

9. Information on the vaccine roll out in East and West Sussex

10. Further information and resources

1. KEY MESSAGES FOR EVERYONE

We all have an important part to play:

  • please do not contact the NHS, including your GP, to seek a vaccine, they will contact you. It will help the booking process to have your NHS number to hand;
  • when you are contacted, please attend your booked appointments;
  • once you have had your first vaccination you will receive a further appointment to receive the second dose, and
  • please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives. 

Information for people who have been recently vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you getting the COVID-19 disease. It may take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from the first dose of vaccine.

Although you should get good protection from the first dose, having the second dose should give you longer lasting protection against the virus.

Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.

The vaccine cannot give you the COVID-19 infection, and 2 doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. 

We do not yet know whether it will stop you from catching and passing on the virus. So, it is important to follow the guidance in your local area to protect those around you.

To protect yourself and your family, friends and colleagues you still need to:

  • practice social distancing
  • wear a face mask
  • wash your hands carefully and frequently
  • follow the current guidance

2. FOR MORE INFORMATION

The Sussex Health and Care Partnership have produced the following webpages to help you understand what will happen next. these are being regularly updated:

For answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the vaccination programme please click here.

Read this ‘fact check’ page which tackles some of the biggest concerns and inaccuracies.

For information about When will I get my jab?

For details of Brighton and Hove vaccination services

For details of Health and care workforce vaccinations

For daily updates which provide the most up-to-date information

For information about how carers wil be vaccinated

To report any adverse reactions following your vaccination click here

For data on the number of vaccinations click here NHS England published data on vaccinations, 21 January 2020 (we fall under the Sussex and East Surrey Partnership)

Also, The Sussex Health and Care Partnership has set up a dedicated email for specific queries about the vaccine: sxccg.vaccineenquiries@nhs.net

For straightforward steps to keep yourself and others safe and get help if you need it, visit www.keepsussexsafe.uk  

3. SCAM ALERT 

Fraudsters are sending ‘phishing’ emails and texts, making cold calls, and directly door stepping people with offers of a COVID-19 vaccine. Often, they claim to be from the NHS and direct victims to an authentic looking website where they are asked for their personal details. In some cases, the victim is told that someone will attend their home to administer the vaccine. The fraudster will typically take money from the victim by charging for the vaccine or by harvesting their personal and financial details which they will use to sell or take money from their bank account. Elderly and vulnerable people who are often isolated, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are often a target for these scams.

In other cases, people are receiving a notification of their ‘vaccination appointment’ and are being asked to confirm it by clicking on a link. This looks very similar to the genuine texts being sent by GP practice vaccination teams and the NHS is worried people will be conned by them or will not respond to their genuine invitations.

The NHS has this advice for patients:

  • An official NHS text message will include details of your GP practice. It will also include details of the local vaccination service and its location.
  • Scam text messages and emails are not including local information such as your GP practice details or where you are invited to attend.
  • The COVID-19 vaccination is only available by the NHS and it is free – you will never be asked to pay for it or your bank details.

If you are worried about a text message you have received, please be assured you will remain on your GP practice list for vaccination if you do not respond.

Sussex Police is reminding people that if they receive a call, they believe to be fraudulent, to hang up. If a suspicious email has been received it can be forwarded to report@phishing.gov.uk.

Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.

If an individual believes they are a victim of a fraud, this should be reported to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk. This can also be reported to Sussex Police online or by calling 101.

4. ROLL OUT OF THE VACCINE IN BRIGHTON and HOVE

To date across Sussex:

  • more than 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccination have been delivered
  • people aged 65 and over who have not yet been vaccinated and who would like to, are now able to contact the national booking service directly to arrange an appointment. People can go online - www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119.
  • Sussex met the government target to vaccinate older care home residents by the end of January 2021, and to offer this to everyone in the top 4 priority groups by mid-February.

There are a number of ways in which the vaccination is being rolled out to our communities. Some further information is contained in the attachment at the end of this page:

(A) A GP-led vaccination service involves groups of local GP practices working together to provide the vaccination to their collective patients at one location. This means that you may not receive the vaccination at your local GP and you may be required to travel to a different location nearby. All GP practices in the city are involved.  GP led services are not running every day of the week and most are running specific days in line with the availability of the vaccine.

(B) Hospital hubs – local hospitals across the country have delivered the vaccine to people over 80 who have attended for a planned appointment and frontline health and care staff. People only receive vaccinations in this way if they have an outpatient or inpatient appointment at your hospital.

(C) Roving service –  GP-led services and the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust have been taking the vaccine to residents and staff in care homes for older people and those who are housebound. You will be contacted when an appointment is available.

(D) Large vaccination centres – Vaccination centres are larger facilities located with good transport links and serve a much wider population. The Brighton Centre opened on 25th February and offer appointments 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, and as a result can deliver up to 3,000 vaccinations a day (subject to the supply of vaccines), Further large vaccination centres are based in Eastbourne and Crawley. 

(E) Community pharmacy-led vaccination services.  The first pharmacies in Sussex have opened in West and East Sussex (none in Brighton so far). High street stores capable of delivering large volumes while allowing for social distancing are initially being selected to give the best geographical spread.

More information is available below.

(A) Hospital hubs

Hospital hub vaccination services in Sussex were launched at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton on 8th December 2020. Hospital hubs are at:

Health and care workforce vaccinations

All health and care workers are invited to book a vaccination at one of the hospital-based vaccination sites across Sussex.

Click here to access the booking links

B) At a GP led vaccination service

All GP practices should display clear information on their websites about the vaccination roll-out. Current GP vaccination services are available at:

Brighton Racecourse for patients at Albion Street Surgery, Allied Medical Practice - School House Surgery and Church Surgery, Arch healthcare, Ardingly Court Surgery, Beaconsfield Medical Practice, Broadway Surgery, Park Crescent Health Centre, Pavilion Surgery, Preston Park Surgery, Regency Surgery, Saltdean and Rottingdean Medical Practice, Ship Street Surgery, Stanford Medical Centre, St Luke’s Surgery, St Peter’s Medical Centre, The Avenue Surgery, The Haven Practice, Warmdene Surgery, Wellsbourne Healthcare CIC, Woodingdean Medical Centre

County Oak Medical Centre for patients at Brighton Station Health Centre, Carden Surgery, Montpelier Surgery, Seven Dials Medical Centre, University of Sussex Health Centre

Portslade Health Centre for patients at Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre, Benfield Valley Healthcare Hub, Charter Medical Group, Hove Medical Centre, Links Road Surgery, Mile Oak Medical Centre, Portslade Health Centre, Trinity Medical Centre, Wish Park Surgery

Please DO NOT contact your GP surgery You will be contacted when it is your turn to receive the vaccine. 

If you have not yet been approached about having the COVID-19 vaccination, please read the information: why you are being asked to wait

C) Large vaccination centres 

Read more about What to expect when you arrive at the Brighton Centre for your appointment including information in Easy Read, and other formats and languages. Appointments for The Brighton Centre, and large vaccination centres, is through the national booking system. People in the eligible groups, who have not had their vaccination and who live within 60 miles of a service location are receiving letters inviting them to book their vaccination. People who have received a letter can either use the national booking system to arrange an appointment at a large-scale vaccination centre or pharmacy, or wait to be contacted by their local vaccination service (supported by your GP practice) to arrange an appointment. Please see the attachment at the end of this page for more information about the Brighton Centre.

D) Pharmacies

Appointments are being made through the national booking system and eligible people have been starting to receive letters this week to invite them to go online or call the national number to book their place. When people receive a letter, they have a choice to use the national booking system to arrange an appointment at one of these pharmacies or a large vaccination centre. Alternatively, they can wait to be contacted by their local GP-led service to arrange an appointment there, if they prefer.
 
Further pharmacy-led sites are expected to go live in Sussex over the coming weeks.

5. THE ORDER IN WHICH PEOPLE WILL GET THE VACCINE

You will be contacted by the first NHS service that is able to offer you a vaccination. This may be your GP, one of the hospital hubs, or another NHS service.

In summary

  • Vaccinations are being prioritised, with those most at risk of complications from COVID-19 being offered the vaccine first. The Government has published information about how groups will be prioritised here.
  • The Government has said that it has met its target of offering a vaccine to all those in the top 4 groups by 15th February.
  • The NHS continues to vaccinate, or offer the vaccine, to those in the top 6 groups.
  • Those in priority groups 5 and 6 are being currently being contacted.
  • The phased roll out of the vaccination programme will take time, and timing will be dependent on manufacturing timescales and supply of vaccines.

This priority list is as follows:

This follows advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

  1. residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  2. all those 80 years of age and over, and frontline health and social care workers
  3. all those 75 years of age and over
  4. all those 70 years of age and over and Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  5. All those 65 years of age and over. You are eligible to book your vaccine. People in this group are starting to receive letters from the national vaccination booking system inviting you to book your vaccination appointment.  You can do this online by visiting www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or calling 119 free of charge. Through the national system you can arrange your appointment at one of the larger vaccination centres such as the Brighton racecourse. You also have the choice to ignore the letter and you will be contacted by your local GP led vaccination service when an appointment is available for you.

  6. all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. People with a learning disability are now included in group 6. You are now eligible to book your vaccine.  If you are unsure as to whether you are ‘at risk’, a good indicator is that such people are usually called by their GP practice every year to have their free flu jab. See more information about the ‘at risk’ group. Note that those in the ‘at risk’ group are not currently able to book online or by phone and must await their invitation.  You can do this online by visiting www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or calling 119 free of charge. Through the national system you can arrange your appointment at one of the larger vaccination centres such as the Brighton racecourse. You also have the choice to ignore the letter and you will be contacted by your local GP led vaccination service when an appointment is available for you.
  • If you have a learning disability and want the vaccine, urgently talk to your GP to make sure you are registered. Read more about the Learning Disability Register here from Mencap

  • Conditions which are included in the Group 6 'at risk' category includes: blood cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma); diabetes; dementia; a heart problem; a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma; a kidney disease; a liver disease lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as HIV infection, steroid medication, chemotherapy or radiotherapy); rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or psoriasis; liver disease; have had an organ transplant; had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA); a neurological or muscle wasting condition; a severe or profound learning disability; a problem with your spleen, eg sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed; are seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above); are severely mentally.
  • The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorised in those aged 16 years and over, and the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines are only authorised for use in those aged 18 years and over. 

Priority group 6 – informal carers: Informal carers are also eligible in group 6, and further information as to how carers will be identified and invited for their vaccinations will be available within the next few days.  Note that where a cared for person is classed as ‘at risk’ and is housebound, and where it is clinically appropriate to do so, their carer will be vaccinated at the same time, if present.

7. all those 60 years of age and over

8. all those 55 years of age and over

9. all those 50 years of age and over

10. Everyone else

Timings of the vaccine roll-out

The government has stated it's plan for: 

  • the first vaccine dose to be given to all those in the top 4 priority groups by 15th February - this has now been largely completed
  • all care homes have been offered the vaccine by the target date of 15th February 
  • all adults to be offered a vaccine by the autumn

Information about the roll-out in different formats are available at the bottom of this page.

6. ATTENDING YOUR APPOINTMENT

Advice on traveling to have your vaccine

Under the national guidance, it is permissible to receive a lift from someone.

There are also community transport providers offering this support in terms of transport for medical appointments. You can find information about community and non-emergency transport on the Brighton and Hove City Council website.

For those requiring assistance with transport, we are aware of the following options:

  • For those who need to drive to the  Brighton Centre, free parking for 1 hour will be available at Churchill Square Orange Carpark, next door to The Brighton Centre
  • NHS Volunteer Responders 8am to 8pm 7 days a week, phone number 0808 196 3646. (There could be up to 15/20min wait for the call to be answered due to demand).
  • Age UK National partnering with Uber will cover the cost up to £15, for anyone travelling to and from one of the 7 original mass-vaccination sites. You will need to download the Uber app on your smartphone and from the top left menu, select a promo code for the site you are travelling to.
  • Brighton buses have introduced a live journey planning tool so you can see how busy your bus is and you can decide whether to travel or to wait for the next bus instead https://www.buses.co.uk/how-busy-my-bus. In partnership with local councils, they are accepting concessionary passes for travel 24 hours a day, until further notice, to help those travelling to vaccination centres.
  • Brighton City Cabs are offering free taxi travel to those aged 80+ to get to their vaccine appointment at Brighton racecourse. Passengers must live within the Brighton boundary (Longridge Ave, Saltdean - Portslade). Brighton City Cabs will also cover the return trip. Call 01273 205205 to book

How you will be contacted

You will be contacted by the first NHS service that is able to offer you a vaccination. This may be your GP or the NHS national booking service.

GPs will invite their patients to get vaccinated at their local GP-led vaccination service (see above). You may be contacted by telephone, by letter, or by SMS/text message.

Appointments at  vaccination centres are made through the national booking service.

For the second vaccination you will receive a text and/or an email within 12 weeks of having your first jab. This will confirm the date and time of your next appointment. You may receive this confirmation at time of leaving, but usually this will be later on.

Anyone receiving a letter from the national booking service can choose whether to book an appointment at the vaccination centre (online or by phone), or wait until they are contacted by their GP for an appointment at their local vaccination service if that would be more convenient. The letter contains all the details you will need to book your appointment at a large vaccination centre.

If you receive two invitations, you can choose which is more convenient for you. In time, as more vaccination centres come online, there will be more options available through the national booking system. 

If you miss a call to offer you the vaccine you will remain on the list and the practice/team will contact you again.  If they cannot get through to you by telephone they will contact you by letter. 

What to expect at your appointment

You will be asked to attend the same site to receive both vaccinations. 

You will be given two doses of the same vaccination (i.e. 2x Pfizer or 2x Oxford or 2x Moderna). You cannot ask to choose one type of vaccine over another. They are all effective.

You will be screened for potential allergic reactions before getting vaccinated. All vaccinators will have the training they need to deal with any rare cases of adverse reactions, and all venues will be equipped to care for people who need it.

After you have received the vaccine you will be given a card or paper indicating the date of your vaccination, type of vaccine and batch.    

Your GP will automatically be informed that you have been vaccinated.

7. THE VACCINES

The UK government has set out how it intends to build up a supply of vaccines, and deploy them in the UK COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan and the vaccines delivery plan.  

The UK has secured early access to over 400 million doses of the most promising vaccines so far. To date, three vaccines have been approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA):

  1. Pfizer/BioNTech. The UK has ordered 40 million doses, enough to vaccinate up to a third of the population, with the majority of doses anticipated in the first half of 2021. 
  2. Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccineThe the UK has ordered 100 million doses. Read more about this vaccine by clicking here. The vaccine began its roll out on Monday 4th January 2021. Initially this will be in hospitals only to allow medical professionals to observe the first doses. After that, roll out will be extended.
  3. Moderna.  This works in a similar way to the Pfizer one. Supplies of the new jab are expected to be available in the spring 2021. The UK has pre-ordered 17 million doses.

Other vaccines are in different stages of development, and it is hoped that others may also be approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Novavax (28th Januray) has published positive data from the UK phase 3 study of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, showing it to be 89.3% effective in preventing coronavirus in participants. The UK has secured 60 million doses, with manufacturing set to take place on Teesside. 

Janssen (29th January) published positive data from the phase 3 studies of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine candidate, showing it to be 66% effective overall in preventing coronavirus in participants. The data did not report any significant safety concerns relating to the vaccine, with no serious adverse events in vaccine recipients.

All three vaccines will be given in two doses. 

We have produced a short guide to the different vaccines which is available at the end of this page.

HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THE VACCINES?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has indicated:

  • Short-term vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is calculated at around 90%

  • Short-term vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is calculated at around 70%, with high protection against severe disease

  • The vaccines offer considerable protection after the first dose has been given, but full protection should begin one to two week after the second dose.

How safe are the vaccines?

You can read a weekly report covering adverse reactions to approved COVID-19 vaccines by clicking here

Part of the monitoring role includes reviewing reports of suspected side effects. Any member of the public or health professional can submit suspected side effects through the Yellow Card scheme

Vaccination is the single most effective way to reduce deaths and severe illness from COVID-19.  The vaccines currently in use have been authorised for supply by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) following a thorough review of safety, quality and efficacy information from clinical trials.  

All vaccines and medicines have some side effects. These reactions were usually mild or moderate in intensity and resolved within a few days after vaccination. The most frequently reported adverse reactions in trials were injection-site tenderness, injection-site pain, headache, fatigue, myalgia, malaise, pyrexia (fever), chills, arthralgia, and nausea; these were each reported in more than 1 in 10 people. These types of reactions reflect the normal immune response triggered by the body to the vaccines. They are typically seen with most types of vaccine and tend to resolve within a day or two. The nature of reported suspected side effects is broadly similar across age groups.

8. HOW HEALTHWATCH BRIGHTON AND HOVE CAN HELP

We are working with the local NHS and other services as they prepare to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Brighton and Hove.

This includes helping them to clearly communicate what is happening to local people and making them aware of any questions or issues that arise.

We know that there are lots of questions about both the vaccines and how they will be delivered. We have already shared your questions with those responsible for the roll-out of the vaccine.

Please tell us send us any questions that you may have and we will do our best to find the answers for you. This will help NHS staff to focus on delivering the vaccine and protecting local people.

Answers to most frequently asked questions will be shared on our website and social media. We will share these with the NHS, to help them deliver the vaccine and protect local people. For answers to Frequently Asked Questions please click here.

9. OTHER HEALTHWATCH TEAMS

For information about the vaccination service in East and West Sussex please click these links:

Healthwatch East Sussex

Healthwatch West Sussex

10. FURTHER INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

Please visit the Sussex Health and Care Partnership website

For answers to Frequently Asked Questions please click here.

To help you understand more about  the vaccination roll out and what to expect, a series of videos have been produced which are available below:

Some further information is available via these links:

Click here to access translated materials

Plus: Gujarati, Punjabi, Sylheti, Tamil and Urdu. You can also find out more information about the vaccine rollout in the five South Asian languages here

For British Sign Language Resources

For Easy-read resources

Translated resources

Click here to access translated materials about the vaccine

Additional guides

For further information on COVID-19, including symptoms, testing, and data, please click here to visit our dedicated Healthwatch webpage.

Downloads

The three vaccines (Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna
Information for Carers
Support and advice for ethinically diverse communities
Which vaccine poster
Vaccine fact check

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