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One million people in Sussex have now had their coronavirus jab

One million people in Sussex have now had their Covid-19 vaccination, according to official figures released today.

This incredible milestone has been reached just 24 weeks into the vaccination programme, Sussex NHS Commissioners said.

It said today’s data shows that 1,028,925 people had their first jab by Sunday, May 23, and of those 677,497 have also had their second.

This means that 90 per cent of our most vulnerable residents – those in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation cohorts 1-9 – have had their first vaccination, and 71 per cent of these have now had both, it added.

Amy Galea, executive director of the Sussex Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “This is a fantastic milestone for the residents of Sussex and everyone involved in delivering the Covid-19 vaccine.

“Every single person involved in this has shown real commitment and dedication to rolling out this vaccine as quickly as we are able to in order to give vital protection against the Covid-19 virus.

“Reaching one million first doses today really highlights how far we have come and the incredible progress for our population here in Sussex.”

She said the vaccination programme has been a collective effort since the start across all sites – the hospital hubs, GP-led local vaccination services, the vaccination centres, and our pharmacy-led services.

“We could not have reached one million people vaccinated without each and every person on those sites and those working tirelessly behind the scenes to make it happen,” added Amy.

“From the vaccinators, to the pharmacists, front door teams, people on the phones booking people in, to the thousands of volunteers – we thank you all.”

This week, the vaccination programme was extended to those aged 30 and over.

The NHS in Sussex is urging anyone who is eligible and who has not yet had their vaccination to come forward and book their appointment.

Amy continued: “Getting the vaccine is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves, our families and our communities against Covid-19, so when it’s your turn, please book your appointment and join our Sussex million who have already been vaccinated.

“We are working closely with communities and are looking at more and more ways to bring the vaccine closer to where people live and address barriers that may be stopping people from receiving theirs.

“For example, we have mobile vaccination teams currently in Brighton & Hove and Hastings, we have run Quiet Sessions at the vaccination centres for those who need a calm environment, and our teams have been visiting homeless shelters and sheltered accommodation to make sure no-one is left behind.

“It is really important to us that everyone has the opportunity to receive this vital protection and we will continue working with our communities as the roll out continues to the entire adult population in the coming weeks.”

Bidge Garton, 89, of Ringmer, was one of the first people in Sussex to be vaccinated when the programme launched in December 2020.

Bidge has been a volunteer with the University Hospitals Sussex for more than 35 years.

She started out delivering hospital menus to patients, before later gaining skills in counselling.

Up until the pandemic she was based in the A&E department at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, helping counsel bereaved families and give advice on the subject of organ donation.

Reflecting on the last year, she said: “When I got the call about the vaccine, I was so happy and thankful to be one of the first in Sussex and the country to receive the vaccine.

“It was an excellent day, and everyone was brilliant. I had absolutely no side effects and had received both doses before the end of the year!

“I have nothing but complete admiration for every single person involved in the vaccination programme. I don’t think they’ll ever know how incredible they are and what they’ve achieved.”

If you are eligible and you have not yet received your vaccination, visit www.nhs.uk or call 119 to arrange your appointment.

You can read more about the Covid-19 Vaccination programme in Sussex, including FAQs about the vaccines, by visiting Sussex COVID-19 Vaccination Programme | Sussex Health & Care Partnership (sussexhealthandcare.uk)

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