From the Rye vaccination centre

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Amy from Hastings has her jab

As the government recovered from the G7 in Cornwall this week, all eyes were on the prime minister to hear about the expected extension of some restrictions beyond June 21. As had been widely forecast, he justified the retention of some measures because of the rapid spread of the Delta variant. However, he stated that he was determined that the remaining restrictions in England would be lifted on July 19. Although unwelcome to many, the delay will allow more vaccinations to be completed and the Rye centre is contributing to that.

In addition to an indication by government that all care workers will have to be vaccinated, the NHS has just reported that all those over the age of 18 will be able to book vaccination appointments “by the end of this week”, and the aim was to offer second doses to two thirds of adults by July 19.

At the Rye Tilling Green site we have already seen a large number of younger people keen to be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccination. Some have been booking via the national booking site and seeking the Rye location; others have asked to walk in or attend as “end of day” patients. When using the national booking site it should be noted that it only gives options for locations that have vaccine supply. As a result, Rye is not always offered as an early choice. Those booking need to have patience; decline other locations and persevere for the Rye option.

Although we are keen that most patients formally book in for vaccine, the clinical team at Rye, Ankit, Hardik, Tejas and Vinas accept some requests from “end of day” or even “walk in” patients. Registration for the former – those within 10 minutes of Tilling Green – will be welcomed by direct message: name, age, telephone, area where living, to the @ryepfizer Facebook page. Patients will need to check in at Tilling Green by 6pm. For the latter it is also best to check by direct message before arriving. The end of day patients allow sufficient flexibility to enable the use all the prepared vaccine by close of session. So far no vaccine has been wasted in Rye.

There have been some “no shows” for appointments. At times, traffic has been an issue for some, but the message is that even if you are going to be late, then press on and get to the centre as soon as you can. Staff will endeavour to fit everyone in so that individuals do not miss their vaccination.

Having completed around 3,000 vaccinations in the short time that Rye has been open we see and hear a lot of personal experiences. Seana Lanigan, who volunteers, reports two.

A local man was pleased to get his vaccine just 10 minutes away from where he was working. He said he simply would not have gone to Eastbourne or Folkestone, which had been his previous options, as this would have involved taking much of a day off work which he could not have afforded to do. The Rye option made the difference between having the vaccination or not. Others have reported similar stories.

A young woman came in with her brother. She was worried, because she hated injections. The brother was there to provide moral support but unfortunately he was rather sceptical about the process. On arrival, they witnessed someone who had just been vaccinated who was feeling faint. Although rare, it does happen, particularly in the current heatwave and for those who are needle phobic. This rather unsettled the new arrivals, who were then unhappy about proceeding. After 30 minutes’ further consideration the woman accepted her vaccine. The following weekend, at start of day there was a long queue. In the front was the sceptical brother, who after his sister had been jabbed, had gone straight back home and booked his own appointment.

Volunteers still needed

To operate efficiently, the centre needs volunteers. Those who have joined as marshals and in registration – are enjoying the experience. Vaccinators should have some clinical experience and will be paid. Training and briefing is given for everyone committing to the centre. Any names please to claritychemist@gmail.com or to Facebook pages @ryeact or @ryepfizer or to 07414 617484 or 07984 930315.

There is no fixed commitment, volunteers can give as much or as little as they can manage. Information is being passed out to the community by Rye News and via social media. Once contacted there are WhatsApp groups to link volunteers and vaccinators to the facility.

Image Credits: Anthony Kimber .

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