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Eketahuna clinic completes round two of vaccinations

The Eketahuna Outreach Clinic was open on Saturday for people who had booked appointments. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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Eketahuna’s second covid-19 vaccination clinic went ahead as planned despite Alert Level 4 restrictions.

Vaccination appointments across New Zealand were postponed on Wednesday, with many clinics resuming on Thursday.

In Eketahuna, only people who had already booked appointments were vaccinated on Saturday, with no walk-ins allowed.

MidCentral District Health Board covid-19 vaccination programme iwi and Maori lead Adele Small said people who had appointments at the clinic wore face coverings and stayed within their bubbles at all times.

“We are developing plans to ensure the safety of both our vaccination team and the community regardless of alert levels,” Small said.

“This involves exploring the possibility of having a drive-through vaccination clinic at the site.”

Small said that after Saturday’s efforts, the clinic would return to Eketahuna for a third time.

Anyone who had not yet booked their vaccination could book an appointment through the Eketahuna Health Centre.

More than 300 people attended Eketahuna’s first clinic and many received their second and final dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Saturday.

Others who were only receiving their first dose would be able to schedule a follow-up appointment.

The first clinic used a cold chain process to keep vaccines within the required temperature range of 2-8C from the point of manufacture until they were administered to the patient.

Using this process meant no doses of the vaccine were wasted or disposed.

Eketahuna Health Centre committee chairwoman Adrienne Dempsey received her second dose of the vaccine on Saturday afternoon.

“There was more social distancing and alcohol swabs in between patients, and mask-wearing was mandatory,” Dempsey said.

“We’ve stopped the drop-in capacity … because they have to triage and monitor people, it’s easier if they know who is coming through.”

Otherwise, Dempsey said, “It’s full steam ahead: business as covid-usual.”

MDHB chief medical officer Dr Kelvin Billinghurst said after a deferral on Wednesday, the MidCentral vaccination rollout had resumed on Thursday.

Billinghurst said the community cases highlighted the need for a high vaccination uptake.

“If your vaccination appointment was on or after Friday, 20 August, and you have not heard from us, please attend your vaccination appointment as planned.”

According to the Ministry of Health website, nearly 98,000 vaccinations had been administered in the MDHB territory by August 15 – about 1600 less than planned. About 2.6 million doses had been administered across New Zealand by August 19.

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