These are just a few of the comments (above) which I heard on a very cold, very wet morning yesterday, Thursday, January 14, about Covid vaccinations as the death rate soared nationwide to its highest level, though infection levels locally in Rother were now apparently falling.
And the information changes daily, though often little accurate detail seemed to be available on the ground – until late yesterday – and often it did not fit with people’s common sense and limited knowledge. This issue of Rye News therefore contains a number of stories about the pandemic which I will try to piece together into something that hopefully makes sense.
However, having done that, an official statement from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) appeared in the afternoon of Thursday January 14, somewhat late in the day for newspapers published that night, so my comments will be very brief.
As far as getting to Etchingham is concerned the official statement basically says “your problem mate” though they have created the problem by choosing that site. Secondly they give the impression of having consulted locally and carefully considered various sites. Nobody I talked to this week felt that and the phrase I heard most often was “What about the Hub on Rye Hill?”, a large, new building next a local hospital and a GP surgery.
At the start of my week (five days ago) I received a query from Sandra Crawley in Rye Harbour about her vulnerable mother and later on I received another from her which said that Icklesham neighbourhood’s website had reported that an 84-year-old from Northiam had had his first jab and has a date for his second
However the best I could tell her was that a site was opening in Etchingham, north of Hastings, Rye Community Transport is helping a patient get there who has transport problems (and not charging for this service), some over 80s have been called to Etchingham for the Pfizer jab for next week, and the NHS will contact people by letter – though another correspondent claims it is now going to be by phone.
In the meantime however Anthony Kimber has collected information which is summarised in a separate story.
How to get there
Whether the Etchingham centre knows how many people will actually need transport is not known, but a round trip for Rye Community Transport (RCT) will take at least three hours (allowing for pick-up and drop-off time) and, with social distancing, the mini bus can only take a maximum of six passengers, and perhaps only deliver (at best) 18 patients a day.
However advice has emerged from NHS sources that a patient could be carried in a car driven by someone NOT in their bubble, provided both patient and driver are distanced and masked, and the car is sanitised after each trip, if people are willing to do this.
I do not drive because of dyspraxia, a co-ordination disorder, and therefore do not own a car, but my searches showed me I could get to Eastbourne quicker by train, rather than going to Etchingham, and centres in Bexhill and Hastings would be even more accessible – avoiding very long waits on a freezing Hastings platform, particularly as I have COPD (think “asthma”, but much worse!).
What does not help either is information that is inaccurate, whether unintentionally or deliberately inaccurate, which has resulted in readers contacting Rye News for help
More information sooner stops worries
However, while we desperately need to keep to “the rules” to save lives, when these change frequently and sometimes seem not to make sense, it is hard to get people to obey them and people will question what appear to be daft proposals.
The Etchingham location might appear to fall into that category, and raises more questions than have so far been answered, so – while next week may prove to be a turning point in dealing with the pandemic locally – it seems that many are still very concerned about their “nearest and dearest”, and do not feel they have enough information – a feeling they have in common with Rye News’ Editor.
Image Credits: Crown copyright 2020 .