“Courageous” and “Talent”

The Conquest Hospital started its Covid vaccination programme at the end of December. Eastbourne DGH followed suit from 4th January. In each case, first doses were of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, code-named “Courageous”. Initial recipients were frontline health and care staff at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT), local care home workers, and staff from other local NHS organisations.

The alternative Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine, code-named “Talent”, was also approved for use from the beginning of this month. However, so far, at least in East Sussex, initial “Talent” doses have been reserved for residents of care homes and house-bound patients because of the comparative ease of transportation. The “Courageous” vaccine needs to be carefully stored at a temperature of  -70ºC and can only be moved a certain number of times ahead of use.

A third vaccine, developed by Moderna, has also been approved, and will be made available shortly.

Each of these vaccines is typically delivered by a simple injection in the upper arm.

The government has indicated that the NHS aims to offer jabs nationally to 15 million people – the over-70s, healthcare workers and those required to shield – by mid-February and millions more by “spring”. The UK’s chief medical adviser, Prof Chris Whitty, has described such a timetable as “realistic but not easy”. The ultimate target is to reach all adults who want the vaccine by September.

17 mass vaccination centres have been set up nationwide. However, the nearest to Hastings is over 60 miles away at Epsom Downs racecourse. The vast majority of vaccinations in Hastings will be delivered at Kings Church on The Ridge to which patients of all GP surgeries within the borough will be directed. Patients of Bexhill surgeries will attend the Sidley Medical Practice.

All patients will be contacted, in strict priority order.

GPs and local vaccination centres have been asked to ensure that every care home resident in their area is offered vaccination by the end of January. 

Order of Priority for Vaccination Offers

1 Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers;

2 All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers;

3 All those 75 years of age and over;

4 All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals;

5 All those 65 years of age and over;

6 All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality;

7 All those 60 years of age and over;

8 All those 55 years of age and over;

9 All those 50 years of age and over.

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