Frontline health and care staff have started to receive their first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at both Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne DGH.

Vaccine delivery started at Conquest Hospital at the end of December 2020, with the first vaccines at Eastbourne DGH offered on Monday.

This includes staff at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, local care home workers, and staff from other local NHS organisations.

The vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the upper arm.

Members of staff have been specially trained to deliver the vaccine, which needs to be carefully stored at -70C and can only be moved a certain number of times ahead of use.

In the first few days of delivery at Conquest Hospital, nearly 1700 vaccinations were given to frontline health and care staff.

This number will increase as the Eastbourne DGH Vaccination Hub gets up and running.

Dee Daly (pictured), clinical lead for vaccination who has worked for the Trust for 24 year said “I was so relieved to receive the vaccination. It was so emotional to watch other frontline colleagues and friends, who’ve been working so hard over the last year, getting their first vaccine too. It’s a great start to the New Year”.

Vikki Carruth, Chief Nurse at ESHT said: “I am absolutely delighted that we are now delivering the Pfizer vaccine at both our acute hospitals in Hastings and Eastbourne.

“Members of our team at ESHT, and other health and care staff locally, have shown such care, dedication and determination over the last year. This will be a big morale boost for those who are facing such challenges at work at the moment.

“The vaccination programme in East Sussex will be a turning point. However it is just beginning and whilst it will expand over the coming months, it’s incredibly important that everyone sticks to the new lockdown guidance and stays at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.”

The vaccination hubs at Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne DGH are part of a Sussex-wide approach to vaccination, and they complement the community vaccination centres already available for members of the public locally. It is expected that this programme will expand over the next few weeks.

Members of the public will be contacted directly by their GP surgery when it’s their turn to receive the vaccine.