I was pleased to hear that all residents in care homes for older people in the district have been vaccinated, unless they have recently had an outbreak of Covid. When an outbreak occurs, the NHS has to wait 28 days before they can deliver the vaccination to those care homes affected. Any care home located in the district that has not been completed will be revisited as soon as possible.

We were also told that by the end of this week, the vast majority of those 80 and over in the district will have been vaccinated. Anyone who has not yet been contacted, or has been unwell and not been able to attend an appointment will remain on the list and will be contacted at the first opportunity. All of the GP-led vaccination sites across our district are making good progress, and those sites in the North of the district hope to move onto the over 70s priority group this week. It's probably also worth explaining that each week, the days that local vaccination services are open is determined across the country based on the deliveries of vaccines. This is the way these services are working nationwide, including in Sussex. Each site is notified of the deliveries it is expected to receive and from this point it invites patients, based on the number of vaccinations it will receive.

I also want to assure you that our NHS colleagues have listened to your concerns about having a vaccination site in Chichester and they are currently exploring alternative sites that could be used. Identifying and then getting a site approved is complex and has to be approved by NHS England, but they hope to be in a position to update us on this very soon. One of the reasons why some sites were not considered in the first instance is because they were not available to use in the long term. However, the current situation has changed this and this has provided the NHS with further options. We will keep you closely updated on this.

This week, a large vaccination centre has opened at the Brighton Centre. Residents in the district who are still due to receive their vaccine, may be invited to have their vaccination in Brighton, at Epsom Racecourse or at a Hampshire site. If you do not want to travel to one of these sites, or are unable to do so, you can wait until your local GP-led vaccination service is able to vaccinate you. All vaccination centres work from one central booking system - so that all of those involved in the vaccination programme can see if someone has been vaccinated or not, and when they are due to receive their second dose.

You may also be aware that some pharmacists will shortly be offering the vaccine, including one site in Midhurst. The approval of pharmacists as vaccine providers has been carried out at a national level by NHS England. It is expected that the Midhurst pharmacy will go live later this week with appointments being made available through the national booking system (the same as the large vaccination centres.) More pharmacies are expected to join the programme in the coming weeks and we will work with our NHS colleagues to share this as soon as it is confirmed.

The update we received from our NHS colleagues was very positive. Not only are they making good progress in vaccinating the most vulnerable in our district, but they are also listening to the concerns raised by our residents. One of the facts that I discovered last week was that the most vulnerable groups that the Government is currently trying to vaccinate account for 88% of all coronavirus fatalities. If you add the over 50s into these groups, this rises to 99%. This demonstrates how vital it is that we all get vaccinated when it is our turn.

I want to thank all of those who are helping to roll out the vaccination programme in the district. We know how hard you are working and the difference that you are making. Some of our Social Prescribing and Wellbeing staff have also been offering admin support at some of the vaccination sites. They have told us how excited people have been to receive the vaccination, which is lovely to hear.

We are committed to sharing regular updates with you and making sure that you are well informed. The vaccination updates, including the information we were given on Friday, can be found here: Coronavirus support for residents. We also update people on our social media pages and through our email newsletter.

We know how hard our NHS colleagues are working at the moment to deliver the vaccine to our communities as quickly as they can. We just need to try and be patient. What you can be assured of is that I will continue to try and keep you well informed and updated.

Please keep safe and stay well.

Best Wishes

 

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council