This is why a city centre site for vaccinations in Chichester is not being considered

More people in Chichester will begin receiving the vaccine against coronavirus next week.

Friday, 8th January 2021, 4:57 pm
A vial for the first available Covid-19 immunisation, Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine

Vaccinations in the district will be administered at four GP-led sites – two in the north and two in the south, a spokesperson for the Sussex COVID-19 vaccination programme has confirmed.

The two sites in the south, at the Selsey Centre and Tangmere Village Centre, will begin vaccinating people over the age of 80 at the end of next week, as soon as they receive their deliveries.

A GP-led vaccination service in Pulborough has already started to deliver the vaccine for patients in the north of the district – those registered at Pulborough Medical Group and Loxwood Surgery.

A vaccination service will be launched at Riverbank Medical Surgery in Midhurst in the coming weeks to serve other residents in the north, including those registered at The Petworth Surgery.

Several readers have queried why a site has not been set up in Chichester city centre.

The spokesman explained that sites needed to be able to accommodate large numbers of people – at least 300 a day – and also required space for people to wait and to be monitored for a short time afterwards.

Sites also need to have internet access, IT and facilities to be able to carry out the vaccination safely and in line with government guidance.

Early on, Chichester GP practices agreed that their own surgeries would not be appropriate.

This is because they could not provide the vaccination programme on behalf of all GP practices from one site, alongside their individual day to day support for patients.

While there has been ‘incredible support’ from the community with identifying venues, the tight criteria meant not of these were deemed to be suitable.

It is also important that staff have long term access to the site, as the vaccination programme is likely to continue for months over the course of this year.

A spokesperson for the Sussex COVID-19 vaccination programme said: “Thanks to an extraordinary effort by the NHS, the COVID-19 vaccination programme will be further up and running across the Chichester District from next week, meaning everyone over the age of 80 living in the area will begin to receive a vaccination in a phased way.

“The two new GP-led vaccination services will start providing vaccinations for people over the age of 80 registered with Chichester GP practices in the south of the district.

“This is in addition to the GP-led vaccination service in Pulborough who have already started delivering the vaccine for some patients living in the north of the district since the start of the year and the hospital hub which went live at St Richard’s Hospital last week.

“A further GP-led vaccination service site in Midhurst will also start vaccinating local residents in the north in the coming weeks.

“The way in which the vaccination programme is being rolled-out has been agreed nationally and the fact that Chichester District will have four GP-led vaccination services sites, including two for the south area, means the vaccination can be given to as many people as possible as quickly as possible.”

The spokesman stressed that the location of the GP-led vaccination service did not affect the speed by which people living in Chichester district would receive their vaccination.

“The timing for when people will be able to get their vaccination depends largely on the availability of the vaccine and the priority group they are in,” the spokesman said.

“However, we recognise some people will have to travel further than others to get their vaccination depending on where they live in the local area and we are looking at how they can be supported to get their vaccination in the safest possible way.

“People will be contacted when it is their turn to get the vaccination.

“They do not need to contact their GP or another NHS service.”

A vaccination hub at St Richard’s hospital began delivering jabs at the beginning of the week, but these are specifically for people over 80 who are attending for a planned appointment and frontline health and care staff.

Each county in the country will also have one large vaccination centre which will be able to administer the vaccine to large numbers of people.

The large vaccination centres that will service Sussex are currently being finalised.