Dozens of people have benefited from a pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinic in Waitara in North Taranaki, set up to increase immunization rates following the Covid-19 outbreak in Auckland.
Just over 13 percent of the general population over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated in Taranaki and the Maori rate is less than 10 percent.
Maori health provider Tui Ora is delivering the vaccine in partnership with the Taranaki District Health Board on the coast and north of Taranaki.
He relocated his Waitara clinic to the Knox Church Community Hall to allow him to double the number of injections he could give while maintaining social distancing.
Clinical nurse leader Robyn Taylor said demand had increased.
“There is even more response now from alert level 4. Even some kaimahi [staff members] who were going to be vaccinated have come now and also want to be vaccinated, so we have had a much greater response to people who want it.
“Normally in Waitara, because it is a smaller site, we usually serve about 70 people, but today we have increased it to about 150 and tomorrow to 150 just to accommodate the response.”
Taylor said the clinic would remove the backlog created when it closed on the first day of closure, cater to reservations and make a small number of walk-ins.
She said that although the clinic was for everyone, Tangata whenua appreciated that the vaccine was being administered by a Maori healthcare provider.
“Through no fault of any particular body, I think there is a lot of mistrust of the institutions, DHB and things like that. And I think we have built a good relationship with our community and Waitara is a very high Maori community, so we specifically wanted to to be here to answer that call and we have had a great acceptance from the Maori here in Waitara. “
Taylor said that with Covid-19 in the Auckland community, the time for complacency had passed.
Tui Ora would open similar pop-up vaccination clinics in Urenui and Mōkau next week.
Johnstone Noble, 66, was waiting for his chance in Waitara.
He admitted that he had put it off because his wife was ill.
“It was also booked at the Waitara pharmacy, but I have been waiting because I am waiting for my wife to receive feedback from her specialist [about whether she could have the vaccine] but because I’m the one who has to go out and do all the shopping and I have no objection to coming in today and doing it. “
Viviana Musca thought that getting an injection was the right thing to do.
“Because it is a duty for me, to protect my family, to protect the members of my community. It is supposed to be a moral duty for everyone, for everyone. So I think it’s a great thing.”
Supermarket worker Kathy Height had changed the vaccine.
“I wasn’t going to do it and then I have older parents. I thought, oh yeah, whatever, you know, but then I thought not with where I work and my parents are in my bubble, I would like to keep them safe too. because they are old. “
She said the situation on the other side of the ditch helped her change her mind.
“Like Australia, what’s going on there is like it’s never going to go away and at the end of the day all it is is a little bump on the arm twice and then you’re protected.”
If more motivation was needed to get the vaccine, you just had to visit the queue for covid tests at the Taranaki Base Hospital in New Plymouth.
Many people were concerned that they had brought the virus to Taranaki.
This driver, whom RNZ agreed not to name, had a similar story to others in line.
“My daughter has just arrived from Auckland and has a possible contact with someone from 101 Bar.”
The same goes for this mother.
“The daughters have just come back from Auckland and there was a place of interest, so he just got tested.”
Some in the queue also had symptoms.
“We have a bit of a runny nose and we were in Auckland so we thought we’d go get tested.”
The Taranaki District Board of Health said about 500 people were screened across the province on Wednesday and 160 had been swabbed in New Plymouth early afternoon yesterday.
So far no one has tested positive.
The DHB was opening its main vaccination centers in New Plymouth and Hāwera again on Friday, but warned people coming for vaccinations to wear a mask, maintain social distancing and be prepared for delays.
This is an official COVID-19 ALERT.
All New Zealand You are now at Covid-19 Alert Level 4.
The alert level will be reviewed after 3 days for all areas EXCEPT Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, which will likely remain at level 4 for an initial period of 7 days.
A community case of Covid-19 has been identified.
Stay at home whenever possible and follow level 4 alert guidelines. This will stop the spread of COVID-19 and SAVE LIVES.
All are asked to:
Wear a mask and keep a distance of 2 meters from others when you leave your house.
If you are sick, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on getting tested.
Keep scanning QR codes every time you leave your home.
Practice good hygiene: wash your hands often.
Services that include supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics and gas stations will remain open at alert level 4. Face covers are mandatory for all people, both employees and customers, in companies and services that operate at alert level 4 that involve contact with the client.
For more information on Alert Level 4, go to [the government website www.covid19.govt.nz]
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Kia Kaha – Stay strong