Saturday, November 27

Elderly Refused from Vaccines for PPE Training

A Rotorua couple in their 70s say they have been left confused and “angry” after being denied a second Covid-19 vaccine in Rotorua.

NEW YORK, USA - JUNE 13: New Yorkers 12 and older are vaccinated at Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in the Bronx of New York City, USA on June 13, 2021 .

A couple was upset to be told that they could not receive their second Covid-19 vaccine, due to the training of new staff for the change in alert levels.
Photo: AFP

Lakes DHB says it took time to ensure vaccination centers were safe to operate below level 4.

The husband and wife, who did not want to be identified for medical privacy reasons, are in Group 3 and were booked for their second Covid-19 vaccination on Wednesday this week.

Following the level 4 lockdown announcement, that reservation was canceled, which they both accepted as reasonable.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the vaccination program would resume “throughout New Zealand” starting at 8 am on Thursday.

Feeling a sense of urgency due to the man’s heart condition, the couple visited the Rotorua vaccination center on Thursday in hopes of being able to receive the vaccination they were due to receive on Wednesday.

The wife said they walked away, along with six other people.

Vaccination center staff told those gathered that the center was closed due to PPE training.

“We have all been told over and over again no Yes, its When is [Delta outbreak] it’s going to happen, and suddenly they can’t open the vaccination centers because they have to do PPE training. Why hadn’t all of this been done a long time ago?

“It seems so ridiculous that after all this time they couldn’t have got everything organized.

The wife had a friend who was vaccinated in Tauranga on Thursday and said Rotorua was “another backwater again.”

“Everyone tells us to give ourselves the injection, saying: ‘Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate.’

“You just feel like you do everything right, you do everything they ask of you and you agree with everything, but then they are not reciprocated by telling you the truth or doing things right by their side. [They’re] it certainly doesn’t communicate very well. Every time there is an excuse. “

The couple changed the reservation over the phone and, after explaining the husband’s heart condition, they were placed on a priority list, meaning they would receive their vaccinations on September 2.

The wife claimed that if they hadn’t been put on the priority list, they were told they would have been in line to get their second injection in October.

“Getting a new time is months back on the track, which seems so ridiculous. We would have liked earlier.

When you get canceled for a day, it seems silly that you have to delay that amount of time. “

“We were really mad. The whole situation, I thought it was a disaster.”

She said her husband had a stent placed last year and that his doctor was unhappy with the sound of his heart and had referred him again to see a specialist at Waikato Hospital.

Rotorua MP Todd McClay.

Rotorua MP Todd McClay.
Photo: Supplied / LDR-Rotorua Daily Post / Andrew Warner

Rotorua MP Todd McClay said he was disappointed by the situation.

“The Government has known since the close of last year that Covid could re-enter.

“I would have hoped that everything necessary had been done to ensure that people were safe and able to receive their vaccinations, including basic training in PPE.”

He called on the government to “make sure that people who vaccinate in Rotorua do so safely and that everyone in Rotorua who wants to get vaccinated can do so quickly.”

“It’s the only way to make sure New Zealanders are safe.”

He believed that the prioritized two-week waiting time for the couple’s vaccination was not acceptable as one of them was “high risk.”

“Yesterday’s message from the Prime Minister was that they would not turn anyone away and that they did not need an appointment, they could just show up.”

He said there was “growing confusion” around the availability of vaccines and that the government needed to clarify.

“Kiwis need to know that everyone can get vaccinated quickly, especially those with health problems and the elderly.

He said it would be too easy to blame the district health board (DHB).

“The Government is in charge of this, it is the one that is setting the rules. They are the ones who need to make sure that it works properly. They cannot delegate the responsibility to others.

“It is they who I hope to make sure that vaccination is working in all parts of the country when they say so.”

MP Thomas Coffey.

MP Thomas Coffey.
Photo: Supplied / LDR- Bay of Plenty Times / George Novak

Labor MP Tāmati Coffey, who lives in Rotorua, said he sympathized with the couple, noting “the anxiety they certainly had.”

“Our Covid-19 centers are on the front line of this crisis and our workers in those places need all the support they can get.

“There seems to have been a series of unfortunate events, which were not helped by a national crisis that threw us to the level 4 lockdown.

“Tensions are going to be high right now and I encourage everyone to take a breather and trust the system. Our front-line workers are doing their best and they won’t always get it right, but we’re all in this together.”

Lakes DHB COO Alan Wilson said the Health Ministry indicated that vaccination centers could open Thursday if they could safely administer level 4 vaccines.

“We weren’t able to do that at any of our centers for various reasons.”

He said that Lakes DHB vaccination centers had been operating under Tier 1 guidelines until now and many of their workforce had never worked in a healthcare setting before and therefore had never been trained in the use of PPE. advanced.

“There is a strict procedure around that. These staff play a critical role and include people who are in front of the center, such as security staff and administrative staff. We also went through health screening training as security and administration personnel are the first people our consumers see. “

Physical barriers also had to be erected that were not previously required, and work stations, counters and vaccination areas had to maintain a two-meter distance rule, he said.

“Having made these changes earlier would only have made the hubs less productive when they weren’t necessary.

“Personnel who are defined as vulnerable due to their age or other health conditions must be relocated to work at this new level.”

He said the vaccination centers in Rotorua and Taupō were closed on Thursday, but both reopened on Friday.

The Health Ministry and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins were contacted for comment.

Group 3 includes those who are over 65, eligible for a free flu shot, pregnant, disabled or caring for someone with a disability, obese, have high blood pressure that requires two or medications, are an adult in prison or are diagnosed with a serious mental illness.

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Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the Association of News Publishers, and NZ On Air.

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