Eastbourne resident queued hours for her covid booster – despite tireless efforts by staff

An Eastbourne woman said she was waiting for more than two hours for her covid booster appointment this week.

Pat High turned up for her morning appointment at Sovereign Harbour Community Centre on Tuesday (October 26) but said she waited in line for two hours and 10 minutes before being seen.

Pat said there was walk-ins and people with appointments from all over East Sussex in the queue – she spoke to people who had come from Bexhill and Hastings.

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The Sussex Health and Care Partnership has since paused walk-ins at the community centre. 
MORE: Walk-in sessions in East Sussex this week.

Covid-19 Vaccination Centre at Sovereign Harbour (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-211027-114934001

Pat said, “This is nonsense. Staff are doing what they can but the whole system needs sorting out.”

Nurse and vaccinator Jayne Collins said things have been ‘super busy’ at the centre. She said as other vaccine centres in and around Eastbourne have shut, the harbour centre is the only large vaccine hub left.

Jayne said as furlough has ended, many people who were previously volunteering as vaccinators have now left so staff numbers are down.

She said, “Today (October 26) every available member of staff grafted hard, no one had a lunch break, just 10-minute comfort breaks. Management put things in place to improve the rate at which people were seen, separating booked patients and walk-in patients.”

Cars parked for Covid-19 Vaccination Centre at Sovereign Harbour (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-211027-114946001

A spokesperson from Sussex Covid-19 vaccination programme said, “We are currently experiencing high demand for vaccinations at our walk-in services in East Sussex and so we would encourage those who are eligible for a booster, to use the NHS booking system website or 119 to arrange a booked appointment.

“By pre-booking your appointment, you will have a fixed time to attend and our teams can know how many people to prepare for.

“There are more than 20 sites offering booster vaccinations in East Sussex – from vaccination centres, local vaccination services, pharmacy-led services and pop-up clinics.

“At the current time, our vaccination teams are also working hard to visit all of our care homes to make sure residents, who are often our most vulnerable, have this important protection ahead of winter.

There are plenty of vaccines available and the online system is being updated every day. If you have not yet been able to get an appointment via the national booking system, please keep trying.”

Second doses need to be eight weeks since the first dose and the same vaccine type. To receive your booster, it must have been six months and a week since your second dose.

To find out where you can get your vaccine at a walk-in centre go to: https://bit.ly/3BjFOPa