Over 70? Been jabbed?

Covid-19 vaccination first phase priority groups include the elderly and vulnerable - often with travel problems

While the national news is focussed on the impact of new variants and mutations of Covid, the introduction of new travel and quarantine rules, and the possibility of vaccine passports, the vaccine programme progresses. But, up to now, the message from the NHS about Covid vaccinations has been “wait until the NHS contacts you”.

For those in the top four high priority categories, this message has now changed. The NHS is urging everyone aged 70 and over who has NOT yet been vaccinated to contact the NHS – either their GP surgery or by telephone 119 – to book their appointment.

And the advice for those with grandparents, relatives and friends over 70, if they are unaware that their relatives/friends have had a vaccination, is for them to encourage them to book an appointment as soon as possible. The government health advice remains clear that “vaccine is the way out of this pandemic.”

If there are health and social care workers, who are also among the top four priority groups for vaccination and are still waiting for a vaccination, they should speak to their employer. GP surgeries have been contacting those who are clinically extremely vulnerable for their vaccinations.

For the remainder, it is important that all patients are registered with a local GP in order to secure a Covid vaccination. The NHS is aware that some people are experiencing barriers when trying to register with a GP. For those with difficulties please contact East Sussex Healthwatch by telephone on 0333 101 4007. The NHS has emphasised that GP surgeries should not be turning people away who try to register without proof of ID/ address or immigration status.

Local virus rates

Other news this week included reports from the Office of National Statistics that parts of Sussex were among the areas of the UK to be worst hit by the second wave of the Covid – Hastings, Rother, Eastbourne and Arun. All these areas have recorded far more deaths in 2021 than they did during the early weeks of the pandemic. The greatest increase was recorded in Hastings.

This is somewhat at odds with the trends at the start of the pandemic when East Sussex had some of the lowest infection rates in the country. This is remains the subject of a study which has yet to report.

Vaccinations closer to Rye

Contact is being maintained with the clinical commissioning group which is setting the priorities for the vaccination programme. We learn that new centres are being established in other parts of Sussex (and Kent) but, as yet, there is no news about a facility closer to Rye and district. However, many locally have taken the opportunity of the choice offered by the national NHS letters (reported last week) by booking into the New Romney or Ore centres.

A summer holiday

Finally, the prime minister has just been reported as saying that the public should “get used to the idea of vaccinations and then revaccinations in the autumn, as we come face to face with new variants”. The idea of repeated vaccinations gives some idea about the government’s long term thinking for dealing with any new variant virus.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has just said at time of writing that “people shouldn’t be booking holidays right now, either internationally or domestically”. He explained that there are “quite a lot of different things that need to come together” before people can go on holiday, such as more progress with the vaccination effort, and a decline in Covid hospital admissions and deaths”.  Later the prime minister underscored the uncertainty by saying “be patient with summer holidays; it is too early to make plans”.

Image Credits: Crown copyright 2020 .


  1. Let us all hope before we are all due our second vaccination ,there is a vaccination centre in Rye, not everyone wishes to travel out of the Rother district,like some have to Eastbourne, Ore and New Romney.

  2. My wife and I, both in our 70s, live in Rye, registered with Rye Medical Centre at Kiln Drive. On Monday 8th the centre contacted us to say we could be vaccinated there and booked us in for Saturday 13th, so your information is several days out of date.

  3. Not really Mr Bonham, the clinic at the Rye Medical Centre is part of the ‘mop up’ and is only operating on the morning of Saturday 13th. RDCT is taking several people for appointments there. Those in the next eligible group are being contacted with appointments at Etchingham which start on Tuesday 16th, we have already received bookings for then.

  4. We’re booked in at New Romney next week and more than happy to make the trip, I’ve travelled further for a meal and a night out.

  5. Typical when most of the elderly & extreamly clinically vulnerable who have not moved from their front door since last March apart from having to travel miles in the freezing cold to get a Jab, the authorities now decide those not so much at risk can just pop along to the Rye Medical Centre & get their Jab.

  6. Maybe it would be good for the community buses to also run to new romney,and ore,for people withot their own transport, who would find it difficult to travel by bus,as i do not expect the bus to stop outside these vaccination centres,lets have a level playing field for all in Rye,that have to travel to other centres.

    • Couldn’t agree more than with the views expressed by Pat and Tony above. Where is everyone’s sense of perspective?

      It is staggering how entitled some people seem to feel, and the levels of apparent resentment at being asked to take a relatively short journey to a vaccination hub to play their [incredibly small] part in tackling this national crisis. Hardly a huge sacrifice or inconvenience, when there are so many volunteers willing to give up substantial amounts of their own time to help get people to their vaccinations and staff the centres themselves.

  7. In reply to these 2 posts, it is misleading to suggest that people can just ‘pop along’ to the RMC for their vaccination – as I’ve said already, today’s clinic, a one off, is part of the mop up of the first 4 groups. Etchingham finished the mass vaccinations on Wednesday and restarts with the next group on Tuesday. I don’t know what will satisfy Mr Tolhurst – he has complained about the cost of transport to Etchingham when if he’d gone there with us it would have been for free (neither passengers nor the NHS are being charged), and now he wants RDCT to provide transport to New Romney and Ore. The level playing field is there already, people don’t have to travel to these other centres, it’s their choice so to do. RDCT is working with our local surgeries who are part of the Etchingham operation and we are all proud of what it has achieved in getting the top 4 at risk groups vaccinated so quickly as well as maintaining regular GP services, an efficient and effective use of resources. And getting out after months and months at home is a terrific boost in its own right – we’ve had passengers asking if they could stay on with us for longer! We’ve heard some desperately sad accounts of the isolation that’s been endured and we’ve seen the real joy that getting out and having some human contact brings (and everyone at Etchingham has shown immense kindness and consideration to all attending).

  8. Too many negative views, can you imagine what it would be like if they hadn’t developed the vaccine as quick as they did?
    Too many “It’s not on my doorstep” comments, you’re lucky you live in a country that has pushed it forward.
    Too many internet experts who know better than those responsible for delivering the vaccine.
    Not enough “Thank you”

  9. I received a letter from the NHS inviting me to book a vaccination on-line, or by telephoning ‘119’, before any communication from my surgery. I rang this number and was offered New Romney Pharmacy for the 1st dose and Laycocks at Ore for the 2nd dose, so didn’t hesitate to book. An easier and quicker journey than going to Etchingham and I would like to say how well organised everything was there, also very helpful volunteers/staff.


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