More than a thousand people had received their Covid-19 vaccination by earlier this week at the new local vaccination service in Etchingham. The daily rate is around 500. The NHS began the programme at Etchingham Village Hall (Parsonage Croft, Etchingham, TN19 7BY) on Wednesday, January 20.
The service has been commissioned by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) through a partnership between Sussex Community [NHS] Foundation Trust (SCFT) and the GP practices in Rye at Ferry Road and the Rye Hill Medical Centre, Burwash, Battle, Northiam, Broad Oak, Robertsbridge/Battle Health Centre, Sedlescombe and Westfield Surgeries.
The Etchingham site is offering vaccination appointments to either permanent or temporary registered patients at GP practices in line with the national priority groups, starting with those who are over the age of 80. GP practices have been identifying their patients who are eligible, then sending out appointments by text, phone, email or letter – which some have refused.
The NHS CCG recognises that people in Rye and District will have to travel further than others to get their vaccination. We have reminded staff there of the prime minister’s 10 mile access to vax promise of January 7. They acknowledge that at present many in Eastern Rother have to travel twice that distance.
No choice yet about where to go
Sally Ann Hart MP, the mayor and REACT remain in close touch with the CCG and continue to feedback issues and to discuss future options. For their part, the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has advised that the situation is rapidly changing and “there may be an opportunity to set up more sites in the community soon.”
However, until then, unless you are in a special category such as an NHS worker, Etchingham is the place to go. We have also learnt of a new national booking scheme for vaccinations, but as yet details are not available.
Patients with appointments are urged to take up the offer when it arrives and sort out transport as best they can. It is hoped that a strategic transport plan will be advised shortly. Rail is a possibility, via Hastings, but Etchingham Station is around a mile from the Etchingham Village Hall, so a brisk walk is necessary.
[Editor’s note: And a long wait may be necessary at Hastings station as you will have to change there]
See poster at top
In addition to self drive, please note the guidance in poster at top, there are lots of options. The latest government guidelines indicate that a family member or friend is permitted to take a person to their Covid-19 vaccine appointment, which is classed as an exemption as it is a ‘medical appointment’. Guidance to reduce risk is repeated in the poster.
The NHS emphasises that to get a Covid-19 vaccination is one of the best defences against the virus. It should help reduce the rates of serious illness, reduce pressure on our NHS and social care services, and, above all, save lives.
The NHS CCG reminds people that the Covid-19 vaccination programme is the biggest immunisation programme ever undertaken by the NHS. As it is rolled out, people are reminded that:
- The NHS will contact people when it’s their turn. Please do not ask your GP practice about vaccinations but wait until you are contacted.
- People will be contacted as soon as an appointment is available. Surgeries are as busy as usual looking after people, and calls about vaccinations are preventing them from doing this.
- Please act on your invitation when it comes.
The Etchingham Centre provides some additional advice for those travelling for vaccination:
- People are asked not to arrive early for appointments. Arriving on time will help manage numbers at the site and help to keep everyone safe.
- Always remember: Post vaccination advice is still being fully developed, but some advice is here.
Image Credits: Rye Mutual Aid .