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We are working extremely hard to book all our BHWC patients in for an appointment for the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination at the Portslade Health Centre (PHC). Thank you for being patient whilst we work our way through the cohorts. We will continue to give you regular updates via the website and this newsletter. We are pleased to let you know that the BHWC over 80s cohort has been completed and we have been inviting our health and care workers this week. We are receiving a supply of Pfizer vaccinations at PHC on Monday and we will be vaccinating from 8am to 8pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Please do not phone the surgery with covid vaccine related queries. Our receptionists do not have all the answers and the lines are very busy. You should find all the information required on the Covid Update on our website, in our article The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – Your Questions Answered or if you have a different question you can submit this here.

Online Covid Vaccination Booking Form

Before we book you in for an appointment for the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination, we have to ask many questions and gather lots of information. After we phoned all our over 80s, we realised we need to speed up the booking process somehow. We are therefore sending out an email with a secure online Covid Vaccination Booking Form for patients to fill out. Once you fill out and submit your form, we will book your appointment and you will receive a confirmation. This process seems to have been successful, prompt, and efficient and has enabled us to speed up the process, so we are more likely to get all our patients booked in much quicker. When you receive this form, please fill it out, whether you want the vaccine or not, so we can move down the list. Do not worry if you are unable to fill out the form or if we do not receive your form, we will phone you.

Transport to Portslade Health Centre

Due to the extreme storage conditions several GP practices have been teamed up to supply the vaccines from a central hub. Our allocated central hub is Portslade Health Centre. The no 1 and 1a buses stop right outside the centre and the name of the bus stop is PHC.

There were some over 80s who were unable to attend the vaccination hub in Portslade. One of our patients, Christine Lane, kindly offered to provide transport for these patients. Thank you so much for reaching out to us and for driving patients in a covid secure vehicle all day long on the vaccination days last Thursday and this coming Tuesday. I believe, Catherine will continue to provide the service, if needed.

Why are we not vaccinating every day?

During week 1; we vaccinated on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, during week 2; on Wednesday and Thursday and next week we are vaccinating on Tuesday and Wednesday. We are only informed about delivery once a week and this can be on any day. We receive 1000 vaccines at a time. We are usually given 5-6 days’ notice. As soon as we are told about the next week’s delivery, we start booking people in for the vaccination. In these 5-6 days we have to contact and book in 1000 patients across the hub. The vaccine lasts 72 hours once it has been delivered to us. To further complicate, once we take it out of our fridge at PHC, we have to draw it up within 2 hours, and once it has been drawn up, we have to use it within 6 hours! As you can imagine, the process is incredibly complex and requires tight control and organisation.

Care homes

We look after a few care homes and their staff have all been offered vaccinations and have either been vaccinated or are booked in for next week. Patients within the care homes will not be offered the Pfizer vaccination as it cannot be transported to them. The PCN receives a small allocation of Astra Zeneca vaccines every week and will ensure all patients in the care homes will be vaccinated.

Patients 80 years and over

All BHWC patients who turn 80 years old before the 1st of March 2021 have been phoned three times, and the few we were unable to book in have been sent an invitation by post. This means that they have all been vaccinated already or they have been booked in for this week’s clinics. Our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, receptionists, and admin staff have all been helping out at the PHC to ensure the vaccination programme is delivered with efficiency and safety. It was so lovely to see all our lovely patients at PHC, some had never left their homes since March 2020 and others were excited about their day out! Touch wood, we did not have any severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis.

Frontline health and care workers

The next group was our BHWC staff and staff members at our three local pharmacies; these have now been completed as well. We have been contacting our health care workers this week. This has been somewhat complicated. Many of our healthcare workers have informed us that they are no longer frontline, yet many new patients have advised us that you are health or care workers, but their records do not reflect this. There is a facility online for patients to update their records. We are therefore encouraging all patients to update their details online. Supplying us with your correct information will assist us with delivering the COVID19 vaccinations and improve your future care by identifying accessibility needs and maintain accuracy of other health-related information.

Please go to your SystmOnline account or use the new Airmid app to complete the Personal Information Update Questionnaire (SystemOnline: got to questionnaires and Airmid: go to Surveys) and your data will be automatically added to your medical record. If you do not have your online registration details you can request these here.

If you are a frontline health or care worker and you have not received your phone call or an email with your online Covid Vaccination Booking Form by the end of Monday 18th January then we do not have you recorded as a frontline worker. Please update your records using the online services. Please do not call reception as this blocks the phone lines.

Health and care workers are now also able to book a vaccination at one of the six hospital-based vaccination sites across Sussex. You will need to take ID for this.

Patients 75 years of age and over

We will be contacting our over 75s at the end of this week. If we have your email address, we will send you an Online Covid Vaccination Booking Form. Do not worry, if you do not receive this, or if you are unable to fill this out, we will phone you.

Clinically extremely vulnerable and patients with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality, including carers

We are working night and day to ensure all clinically extremely vulnerable and those with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality are contacted under the correct cohort. If we need any more information, we will contact you. Once this work has been completed, we will inform you which group you are in. We will also be sending out a link this week to help us identify carers. Meanwhile, If you feel your records need updating please do not phone reception as it blocks the phone lines, please go to your SystmOnline account or use the new Airmid app to complete the Personal Information Update Questionnaire (SystemOnline: got to questionnaires and Airmid: go to Surveys) and your data will be automatically added to your medical record.

For information about the Pfizer vaccination don’t forget to visit our previous article The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – Your Questions Answered, which is updated regularly. Once we receive the Astra Zeneca/Oxford vaccine and the associated training for all our clinicians, we will release an FAQ for this and an honest comparison between all the available vaccinations.