Vaccinators at Eastbourne’s Sovereign Centre are celebrating a key milestone today, after vaccinating 20,000 residents from the Eastbourne and Seaford area.

The South Downs Health and Care GP federation have reached this key milestone in just 19 days since moving into the Sovereign Centre for vaccinations from their original site at Hampden Park Surgery.

Dr Raj Chandarana, GP at Old School Surgery in Seaford and clinical lead at the site for South Downs Health and Care GP Federation, said “It has been absolutely amazing to be able to offer so many people this vaccination and the vital protection it provides them. Each person has a story and by seeing them all come through our doors we can see the difference this vaccination is making to our patients and to our community.

We moved just three weeks ago now to the Sovereign Centre, and it has been great to take on the space at the leisure centre whilst it is closed to its normal customers because of lockdown. It offers us more space, allows more people to attend, and has ultimately helped us to reach this incredible goal.

But the work is not yet done and really we are only at the start of this programme. We have been delighted to support our most vulnerable patients by offering this vaccination and we will continue to be here, working tirelessly as a team to continue the roll out as we move to the next priority groups.”

Mark Cannon, Chief Executive of South Downs Health and Care GP Federation said “This is a fantastic achievement by everyone involved.  Eastbourne Borough Council couldn’t have been more helpful.  Having this space has allowed us to reach this milestone as it provides us with the space we need to continue with this really important programme.  Without this site we wouldn’t have been able to reach this milestone so quickly, nor have been able to deliver 1,800 vaccinations in one day, the record for the site so far.”

The vaccination centre serves seven GP practices in Eastbourne and Seaford and vaccinations first began in the week of Christmas at Hampden Park Health Centre, before moving to the large sports hall of the Sovereign Centre on 24 January. 

Open from 8am to 8pm daily, the federation have now completed invitations for all of the top four priority groups, with vaccinations at the centre including housebound residents and even a 100 year old war veteran.

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister said “This is remarkable progress and more than we could have ever hoped to achieve in just a few weeks.  We are proud to be supporting the South Downs Health and Care GP federation and would like to thank all of the volunteers and NHS staff who have helped to reach this impressive milestone.”

Vaccinations are strictly on an invitation only basis, Mark Cannon added “We have recently written again to all those aged 70 and over who have not yet had their first vaccination, and encourage them to attend the appointment offered.  Members of the public should not attend without an appointment as it will not be possible vaccinate without a valid appointment.”

For more information on the service SDHC provides visit www.sdhc.org.uk/covid-19-vaccinations

There is also further information on the vaccination programme at https://www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/keepsussexsafe/sussex-covid-19-vaccination-programme/covid-19-vaccination-sites/