THE Tory MP for villages such as Pevensey Bay and Westham says it will take time to get the vaccine delivery up and running effectively.

Huw Merriman is MP for the Bexhill and Battle area, including many rural villages.

He has sent out a positive message, saying:

“I understand the urgency and frustration at which local residents are wanting to receive one of the two Covid19 vaccines now available and it is incredibly frustrating when information is not coming through.

Everyone is doing their absolute best as we try to deliver the vaccine at the same time as putting the infrastructure in place. 
 
At present vaccinations are taking place in hospital hubs; GP led vaccination services; roving services to care homes and the housebound; and planning is going into mass vaccination sites across the county.

More local to us, the Conquest Hospital in Hastings went live as a hospital hub last week, and Eastbourne DG Hospital went live this week. 

GP-led vaccination services are where the majority of the current population are being offered their vaccinations. In total in Sussex there are 15 sites which have gone live to date.
In the majority, each service is supported by a number of GP practices (within their Primary Care Network footprint) working together to vaccinate their collective population. Currently in East Sussex, six GP-led vaccination services have gone live and have all started to vaccinate patients over the age of 80. 

The CCG is working to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible, but deploying a vaccine at this scale is unprecedented. Timing will be dependent to a large extent on manufacturing timescales and supply. 


We have to be realistic that this enormous logistical task is going to take some time to get completely up and running, but good progress is already being made. The Government has set a target of vaccinating the four top priority groups (over 13 million people) by the middle of February, and I will continue to do all I can as the local MP to support the efforts of the CCG in ensuring we meet this target.  

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunity advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.

I know that work is continuing to set out future priorities and I will be studying this carefully. The committee is currently of the view that the key focus for the second phase of vaccination could be on further preventing hospitalisation. Vaccination of those at increased risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 due to their occupation could also be a priority in the next phase. This could include first responders, the military, those involved in the justice system, teachers, transport workers, and public servants essential to the pandemic response.
 
I am so sorry that there is much concern and uncertainty. The vaccine programme is vital to deliver a solution. I will do everything I can to get this delivered across the 200 square miles of the constituency.”