Worthing doctor gives update on vaccine roll-out in Worthing

Patients in Worthing should begin to receive the vaccine against coronavirus next week, a doctor has confirmed.

Friday, 8th January 2021, 3:39 pm
Dr David Stokes from Worthing

Dr David Stokes, a partner at St Lawrence surgery and clinical director of the Central Worthing practices PCN, has provided an update on the roll-out of the scheme.

GP practices in the area have faced the mammoth task of preparing to hold vaccination clinics, while continuing to provide usual care for patients.

Surgeries were only alerted just before Christmas that they would be required to administer the vaccine in their communities, he said.

A vial for the first available Covid-19 immunisation, Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine

“In a very short space of time, all the practices in Worthing have pulled together,” he said.

He praised the practice managers and nursing teams for doing ‘an amazing job’ in getting things ready.

The teams are ready to go – but are having to wait for deliveries of the vaccine to get started.

The difficulty was that practices were being given ‘very late notice’ of when deliveries were due, he said.

“There’s never been a delay from our side, we’ve been gunning for it. We’ve been waiting for the supply,” Dr Stokes said.

“There’s a lot of training that needs to be done. We’ve managed to get it up and running within a very short space of time.

“Now it’s just about getting the first doses delivered.

“We can’t book patients in until we know when it’s coming.”

He acknowledged that it was a ‘massive task’ to get the vaccine rolled out right across the country.

In the meantime, he stressed that patients should not contact their GP surgeries to ask about vaccinations.

Patients will be contacted when appointments are available.

According to the Lime Tree Surgery, there are more than 8,000 patients aged 80 or over in Worthing – who will be among the first to receive the vaccine.

Residents and staff in care homes have already begun to be vaccinated in the borough.

Tim Loughton, the MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, moved to allay any concerns people might have about the speed of the vaccine rollout.

He said the availability of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – which was used for the first time in the UK on Monday – would mean that jabs would be offered to more residents soon.

“I appreciate that there is some frustration that only some parts of the country and indeed some parts of Sussex have received the COVID vaccine so far,” he said.

“The rollout of the Pfizer vaccine was inevitably limited to a small number of centres which could cope with the need to keep the medicine at ultra-low temperatures.

“The availability of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine will mean that jabs will be available in Adur and Worthing over coming days and constituents in the top priority groups should expect to receive letters inviting them to take up the jab very shortly.

“I would strongly recommend that people take up that offer as soon as they are asked, as I will be doing.

“Brighton has also been identified as one of the main regional hubs to expand the roll-out programme so I am confident that everyone will be catered for just as comprehensively as other parts of the country.”