Date: 13 February 2023
After giving more than 965,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust’s (SCFT’s) role in the vaccination programme has come to an end.
Northgate vaccination centre in Chichester was the last of SCFT’s large scale vaccination sites to close its doors. The team there gave their final COVID-19 vaccination on Saturday 4 February.
Demand for the vaccine has significantly reduced in recent months as people have become fully vaccinated and the latest booster vaccination offer ended on Sunday 12 February.
SCFT was responsible for operating the five large scale vaccination centres in Sussex. The first of these was at the Brighton Centre, which opened in January 2021. It was the largest single vaccination site in Sussex and at its peak provided 3,500 vaccinations per day.
Further vaccination centres opened in Chichester, Crawley, Eastbourne and Etchingham (in partnership with local primary care services), operating throughout 2021 and 2022 to ensure that local people could access to their first and second doses of the vaccine along with any subsequent boosters.
To run the centres SCFT recruited more than 1,900 additional staff, who worked more than half a million hours to help people safely and efficiently receive their vaccine. We also saw more than 1,000 volunteers come forward to give their time for free to support the vaccination programme.
As the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination progressed, many of the vaccination centres had to relocate as the buildings they were using returned to their original purpose once lockdown restrictions were lifted. One example is the Eastbourne vaccination centre, which moved from the Welcome Building to the former Mothercare shop at Hampden Retail Park
As well as operating the large scale vaccination centres, teams from SCFT provided vaccinations to people living in care homes, and visited people who were unable to leave their homes to receive the vaccination.
The Trust’s Immunisation Service also ran clinics in schools to offer the COVID-19 vaccination to children across East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove.
Mike Jennings, Interim Chief Executive of SCFT, was also the Trust’s Senior Responsible Officer for vaccination centres at the time. He said: “When I reflect on our role in offering the COVID-19 vaccination to the people of Sussex, the overwhelming feeling I have is one of pride. We were given the daunting task of opening these large scale vaccination centres quickly and safely, and it was nothing short of amazing to see everyone and everything come together to make it happen.
“Our centres, and our teams, were an integral part of the vaccination efforts to help keep our local communities safe. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has played their part - the staff who joined us specifically to work at the centres, volunteers, teams working out in the community and those across SCFT who supported the mobilisation of the centres alongside their day job.
“Our role in the vaccination programme over the last two years required a monumental effort from all involved, but we know that we have made a significant difference to the health of our local communities and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of everyone involved.”
Large scale vaccination centres were just one part of the vaccination programme in Sussex. People have been able to receive their vaccination in a range of locations including local clinics, some pharmacies and mobile units.
While the current booster programme has finished, the COVID-19 vaccination remains available to people who are clinically vulnerable. You can find out more about how to get your vaccination in Sussex on the Sussex Health and Care website: www.sussex.ics.nhs.uk/your-care/covid-19-vaccination