Nearly 1,200 patients were vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine at the new Rye Tilling Green centre last week – and more vaccine was expected this week, enabling operations to continue on June 2.
The first three operating days allowed the team under pharmacists from Clarity Chemists – Hardik, Ankit ,Tejas and Venus – to settle in and develop the delivery procedures. And after three days the process became almost routine for the shifts provided by some 50 local volunteers helping to make it happen.
Rye is now contributing to the NHS England vaccine rollout to age group 30 to 39 and nationally some 53% of this group have been given at least one dose. Patients have come to Rye from all around, including Ashford, South Kent and Hastings, and they all booked via the national booking website and chose the Rye option.
Many were delighted to be vaccinated close to home and one patient wrote on social media: “We’ve been this morning and we were on your list, so all good…Thank you so much for providing such a wonderful service to Rye. The staff and volunteers were all fabulous.” Another said, “‘Couldn’t have been quicker or easier! It’s very well set up and run down there.”
The way out of this pandemic
The government says that “The vaccine is the way out of this pandemic; recent data has shown that life-saving protection is provided by two doses of the jab. We urge everyone to play their part in getting us back to normality.” Public Health England reports that having both doses of vaccine prevents 90% of symptomatic virus infections.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that people under 40 will be offered Pfizer or Moderna rather than AstraZeneca because of the link with rare blood clots. The same recommendation has been made for pregnant women, who can choose an appropriate location through the national booking service website where Pfizer and Moderna are available. Currently in Sussex the latter is only given in Brighton.
With the vaccination roll out reaching the over-30s, the NHS is preparing to extend this to those aged 18 to 29 and those in their late 20s can expect to be invited from this week. The NHS has urged all those eligible to take up the offer of a jab at one of the 1,600 available locations – that now includes Rye.
Be patient until vaccine supply arrives
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 seeking Rye as an option need to have patience; decline other locations and persevere for the Rye option.
The Rye vaccination service is complementing the other services in our area (GP surgeries, Etchingham, the Hastings Kings Centre, the Ore Pharmacy as well as those further afield) and it provides an additional and convenient capacity, not only for those in Rye and district, but also for any others for whom booking in Rye better suits.
End of day lists: To ensure that all prepared vaccine is used, the Ticehurst team has developed a system for end of day vaccinations, using a reserve list. If you live where you can get to the Tilling Green centre within 10 minutes, you can register your telephone and age and join the list.
Registration can be via a direct message to Facebook @ryepfizer or by checking in at the Tilling Green registration. One local patient who registered in the first days said: “I was lucky enough to get my jab on the waiting list last night.”
Volunteers needed: To operate efficiently, the centre does need more volunteers. Those who have joined as volunteers – marshals and 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.
PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD: Any names please to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 – and the vaccines are helping win the fight.
Further easing of lockdown on June 21?
With early signs of a third wave of infections, particularly from the Delta or Kappa variants of the virus, the government is under pressure to reconsider the June 21 end of lockdown. There is a tension between some in the broadcast media and the scientific establishment arguing for caution, and others suggesting that the benefits of further delay are outweighed by the costs and adverse side-effects of lockdown.
This week on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, one scientist, Professor Gupta of Cambridge University, argued for caution, saying: “there has been exponential growth in the number of the new cases and at least three-quarters of them are the new variant.
“Of course the numbers of cases are relatively low at the moment – all waves start with low numbers of cases that grumble in the background – and then become explosive, so the key here is that what we are seeing here is the signs of an early wave.” He went on to say that the number of people who have been vaccinated in the UK meant this wave would probably take longer to emerge than previous ones.
“There may be a false sense of security for some time, and that’s our concern,” he added. This debate suggests that there will be no early decision about the next phase of unlocking.
Editor’s note: a surge programme of testing was introduced in two parts of Canterbury on Tuesday.
NHS Treatment Backlog
There is daily news of the difficulties caused by Covid-19 to routine and elective NHS treatments and, as a result, there is a significant backlog which includes dental treatment for NHS patients and patients with long Covid symptoms. We are told that the NHS is working to prioritise resources to reduce waiting lists and, in addition, there is work to establish how the new ways of working at GP level using video and telephone can be best carried into the future.
Testing: We remind you of the various sources of testing: the seven day test kits from chemists; by booking online; or by testing in the workplace – and many workplaces have testing kits on their premises.
Remember Hands – Face – Space: Finally, with many more people visiting the local area, the message remains “do not drop your guard”. Ensure that you get your two Covid jabs and please remember that, even after vaccination, – Hands, Face and Space – and meetings in the fresh air are safer than ones in enclosed spaces.
Image Credits: Anthony Kimber .