COVID-19 VACCINE INFORMATION
Updated: 05 February 2021
The NHS has rolled out COVID-19 vaccinations in GP surgeries across the UK in phases and Westcourt Medical Centre is now live as the designated vaccination site for Willow Green Surgery and Park Surgery patients, as well as our own patients.
People are being invited to have their COVID vaccination in order of national guidance, starting with patients aged over 80, care home residents and their staff, plus healthcare workers. You don’t need to call the surgery, you will be contacted by our vaccination booking team as soon as we are able to offer you the vaccination. Please understand that the combined patient numbers in these age groups are in the thousands and therefore the booking of appointments will take time.
We are currently inviting patients from Cohort SIX and there are a number of ways we will invite those patients for a COVID vaccination. The current cohorts being invited are:
- 18-64 years with underlying health conditions
Cohort FIVE 65-69 year old patients have been sent letters from NHS England (NHSE) to make their appointments at one of the mass vaccination sites in either Brighton, Chichester or Midhurst. Patients within this group who are unable to travel to one of the mass vaccination sites will need to alert the surgery of this. You shall be placed on a waiting list but the surgery are unable to inform you of when you will be called for your vaccine as this depends on the completion of Cohort SIX and when we receive deliveries of the vaccinations.
Patients who have mobile phones may be sent a text message with a link to book your own appointments. Click on the link and follow the instructions to book your appointment.
Patients with landlines may be called by staff from the surgery. Your ‘Caller ID’ may show “Unknown” or “No Number” when the team try to ring you so please bear this in mind when answering your phone. When you receive a call inviting you to book an appointment, we ask all patients of Westcourt Medical Centre, Willow Green Surgery and The Park Surgery to ensure they make themselves available to accept the day and time offered to them. This is not a normal GP service so we cannot be flexible when offering appointments for the COVID vaccination as we would in other clinics. In order to ensure we get everyone booked in, we need you to be available to attend the appointment offered to you. If you decline an appointment, you may not be contacted again for a while so it is vitally important you make yourself available when you receive the invite. Also note that the booking team will NEVER ask you for payment for the vaccination, or ask you to press numbers on your phone to confirm the appointment. If someone asks you to do this, hang up immediately.
Vaccination clinics are created as soon as we receive notification from NHS England that we are scheduled for a delivery. Deliveries can come once a week, or twice a week, but we only find out what we are receiving a few days in advance of the scheduled delivery date. Deliveries are made between 8:00am and 6:30pm – we have no control over the time deliveries will arrive. The Pfizer vaccine is delivered in quantities of 975 doses and has a very short shelf life of 3 and a half days. As we do not have a static day of delivery each week, clinics are booked on the days following delivery and therefore could be scheduled on any days of the week. For example, if we take delivery of the Pfizer vaccine late on a Thursday afternoon, we will need to book vaccination clinics in on the next day, the Saturday and the Sunday. Deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine means we have the ability to be more flexible with clinics as it has a much longer shelf-life than the Pfizer vaccine. There continue to be supply issues around the country and some GP surgeries have not received scheduled vaccine deliveries at all. We hope this will not happen here but we need our patients to be aware that there is a risk this may happen.
It’s very important for people to note that Westcourt is also still operating as a GP surgery and offering current COVID-restricted general medical services to Westcourt registered patients. This is alongside being a vaccination site for three GP surgeries. The volume of calls to reception concerning COVID vaccinations is preventing patients getting through who need to speak with a GP or other clinician regarding their healthcare needs. It is imperative that patients refrain from calling the surgery regarding the COVID vaccination – you will be called when it is your turn to be invited. The same applies to email and eConsult – we will not respond to emails or eConsults from people asking when they will be invited. We are not able to provide any other guidance on vaccinations but patients can visit the NHS West Sussex CCG website at www.westsussexccg.nhs.uk for more information.
We absolutely understand this is a frightening and worrying time for everyone. The patients of Westcourt Medical Centre, Willow Green Surgery and The Park Surgery are our priority and we are working as fast as we can to get the vaccine out to you. With your help we can ensure we get everyone vaccinated as quickly as is possible. And you can help by doing the following:
- Please be patient whilst the booking team work through the thousands of patients to be invited in each government group;
- Please accept a COVID vaccination appointment when you are offered one, and turn up for it no earlier than 5 minutes before your booked time;
- Please keep the telephone lines clear by not chasing the team for appointments.
We sincerely thank you for your patience and understanding.
Key messages for the public:
- The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. It's important not to contact your GP surgery for a vaccination before then.
- Please act on your invite when it comes, and make sure you attend your appointments.
- You will be invited for a first dose, and later will be booked in for a second dose 12 weeks after receiving the first dose.
- When it's your time to be invited, you will be telehoned by our COVID 19 Vaccination Booking Team. They will never ask you for a payment or your bank details - please do not give any financial information to anyone regarding COVID vaccinations.
- All the while COVID-19 in in our communities it is important to follow the guidelines and remember Hands, Face, Space. It will save lives and help the NHS.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Sussex visit: www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/keepsussexsafe/sussex-covid-19-vaccination-programme
Please do not contact the surgery with regard to the vaccine. You will be invited when appropriate.