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Boosters bungled

There is no workplace vaccination programme for boosters. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Hard work to get a booster

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There is confusion continues about booster vaccination availability in Wairarapa as resident struggle to book a slot.

Concerned South Wairarapa resident Henry de Salis said he was surprised when accessing Book My Vaccine to discover that no boosters were available in South Wairarapa.

“Carterton has no appointments until March,” he said.

De Salis said he felt Wairarapa DHB had fallen short in its duty of care.

“It is failing the community and it is failing the staff.”

He said a way we could limit the risk of needing hospital care was to be fully vaccinated and to have a booster.

A Carterton Pharmacy staff member said there was an ever-changing situation, depending on if it could get more vaccinators onboard, “otherwise, we are booked out until mid-March”.

Wairarapa DHB said there were many sites people could receive their boosters, such as the Masterton Departmental Building, Tekau Ma Iwa in Masterton, Carterton Pharmacy.

There were also pop-up locations at Anzac Hall in Featherston and Hau Ariki Marae in Martinborough.

It said there were no clinics available in Greytown.

Ministry of Health did not respond to questions about why there was not a clinic in Greytown.

Wairarapa DHB said there was a good supply of booster vaccinations.

When asked if there was a workplace vaccination programme for boosters, the DHB said there wasn’t “at this point”.

“We have already delivered about 62 per cent of booster doses – and remembering that many people are not eligible yet because they would not have had their second dose four months ago.”

Wairarapa DHB said essential workers in healthcare were required to have their boosters.

It said those essential workers in healthcare were required to have their boosters by either mid-February, or just as soon as they became eligible.

“Clinics welcome walk-ins and have capacity for everyone.”

When responding to previous questions about people being turned away from vaccination sites, Ministry of Health [MOH] said some sites had increased numbers of walk-ins after reduction in the booster interval from six to four months from January 5, and the launch of five- to 11-year-old vaccinations from January 17.

“At some vaccination sites this resulted in queues, including in some instances for people who had made bookings. We understand this is largely resolved and thank people for their patience,” MOH said.

The number of people who received a booster changed daily as the number of people eligible changed.

MOH said because of this, some people included in that eligibility would have only just become eligible and may not have had a chance to arrange for their booster.

It said as of January 20, there were 1934 forward bookings in the national system for the Wairarapa DHB.

“But this will not capture all those planning to get their boosters shortly, as people can walk in to get their boosters without booking.”

It said vaccination remained the key defence against all covid-19 variants, including omicron.

Two cases in Wairarapa

Three of the five covid-19 cases in South Wairarapa have now recovered, according to MOH.

It said there were now only two active cases, and 14 cases had recovered since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

This comes as an additional 34 community cases of the omicron variant were confirmed in New Zealand on Thursday, bringing the total number to 90.

Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Palmerston North, and Nelson Tasman have covid-19 cases confirmed as or treated as omicron.

“Many of these additional cases have previously been reported as covid-19 cases and linked retrospectively either through whole genome sequencing or epidemiologically.”

MOH said public health teams were continuing to manage omicron cases in the community through rapidly isolating cases and contacts, contact tracing, and testing to slow the spread.

An additional eight cases have joined the nearby Hawke’s Bay delta cluster. All cases had been isolating and there were no new locations of interest.

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