Coronavirus vaccine: 'People of Chichester are angry, disappointed and neglected by the delay'
"The people of Chichester are angry, disappointed and neglected by the delay in rolling out the vaccine here. They feel they are being almost punished for faithfully following the rules."
That was the message from the Mayor of Chichester, Richard Plowman, as Chichester residents continue to wait for the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.
NHS bosses said in December that all teams were working to make sure preparations and checks take place 'as quickly as possible' for surgeries in Chichester. They said sites were expected to go live in January but could not give an exact date.
Mr Plowman's comments come after several residents shared similar concerns with the Observer.
As of last week, Loxwood Surgery, Riverbank Medical Centre in Easebourne and Petworth Surgery, have been supporting Pulborough Medical Group’s distribution of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine. Meanwhile, a vaccination clinic in Bognor Regis has been approved by NHS England, with the first vaccine delivery due this week.
On the continued delay in Chichester, Mr Plowman said: "Chichester had one of the lowest rates of infection in the country with excellent care at St Richard’s Hospital. Our area has a very high proportion of those in the most vulnerable groups of 70+ many with underlying health problems.
"They are quite bewildered why their friends in surrounding areas such as Hampshire had their injections almost three weeks ago."
According to the mayor, the rollout in Chichester is scheduled for next Monday (January 11), with inoculation centres expected to be based in Tangmere and Selsey.
"Apparently Chichester lacks a suitable building with adequate parking facilities," he said.
"The city council were very happy to offer space in the council house but were turned down due to lack of car parking although there is large amount of car parking within in five mins and I am sure all of us would have been more than prepared to walk that distanced to get our jab.
"Chichester has been for many years devoid of a exhibition/events area which would have been ideal."
Mr Plowman said the delay means Chichester 'has a lot of catching up to do'.
He added: "I only hope that the Government live up to the promise of two million inoculations a week.
"In the meantime everybody needs to take extra special care with the new variant of Covid being more infectious and follow the rules. So please stay safe, strong and well: the end is within sight."
In December, Sussex Commissioners stressed that some sites in the county have been 'easier to prepare' and 'so could go live more quickly'.
Other sites, meanwhile, have 'needed more preparatory work' to ensure teams can 'safely offer the vaccine in line with national guidance'. Read more hereThe Observer has asked the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, Public Health England and the MP when and where the vaccines will be available.