After some frantic work during the last three weeks, the vaccination facility in the Tilling Green Centre opens for business on Thursday, May 27. Initially, it will deliver the Pfizer vaccine at around 400 doses per day, subject of course to vaccine availability and Ticehurst pharmacists, Hardik Desai and Ankit Tyagi, supported by colleague Tejas Avaiya, are providing the clinical and administrative lead.
Volunteers have been coming forward and systems put in place to manage the various roles. Local patients have been booking appointments through the national booking website and all the availability for the early days was booked quickly.
However, because the national booking site only responds with options for locations that have vaccine supply, Rye is not always offered as an early choice and those booking need to have patience and persevere for the Rye option.
The Ticehurst team has developed a local system for “end of day vaccinations”, using a reserve list, to ensure that all the vaccine prepared daily is used. People who would like to join this list should make contact via Facebook @ryepfizer.
Providing more capacity
The Rye service will complement the other services in our area (GP surgeries, Etchingham, the Hastings Kings Centre, and the Ore Pharmacy) as well as those further afield. It will provide 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.
However the centre does need more volunteers to work effectively please and there are various voluntary and paid roles – as marshals, registration and paid Pfizer vaccinators. The last requires those with some clinical experience. Training and briefing is given for everyone committing to the centre.
Please spread the word: Any names please to email@example.com, or to the REACT or RyePfizer Facebook pages, or to 07414 617484, or 07984 930315. There is no fixed commitment. Volunteers can give as much, or as little, time as they can manage.
Information is being passed out to the community by Rye News and via social media, using the @ryepfizer or @ryeact (REACT) Facebook Pages. Once contacted there are WhatsApp groups to link volunteers and vaccinators to the facility.
The bigger, wider picture
This week’s NHS Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Meeting: Against the background of the spread of the India variant in parts of the country, regular meetings with the Sussex CCG continue. At the last session on Monday, in addition to the new facility in Rye, we discussed a range of issues affecting the vaccination and related health programmes. Matters included:
- Ongoing concerns about the rare side effects of the AZ vaccine; under 40s are being offered alternative vaccines;
- The vaccine programme is reaching to the below 30 year olds;
- There is no decision yet on the 3rd or autumn jabs;
- There was discussion about advice for pregnant women and their partners;
- There are still 10% of the older cohorts (over 50 year-olds) who have not yet been vaccinated and these remain a priority. Work is under way to identify and encourage vaccination;
- The Moderna vaccine is being given in Brighton.
Protect yourself with two jabs
The NHS stressed that the vaccination programme has been very successful in reducing the spread of the virus and protecting older and vulnerable patients. Therefore everyone is encouraged to get the two vaccinations on offer.
The meeting included some broad discussion of the difficulties with the NHS backlog of routine and elective procedures, dental treatment for NHS patients, and those with long Covid symptoms. The NHS is working to prioritise resources to reduce waiting lists and in addition there is work to establish new ways of working at GP level to make better use of IT and video.
Testing is important …
… and so, still, is “Hands-Face-Space”
Finally, with the relaxation of lockdown rules and more people visiting the local area, the message remains that people must “not drop their guard”. The government has been clear that “we don’t want to lose the progress made so far.” Please remember, even after vaccination, “Hands, Face and Space“. And meetings in the fresh air are still safer than ones in enclosed spaces.
Image Credits: Anthony Kimber .