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Jab numbers near target

The region’s first community-based covid-19 vaccination clinic set to be open today in the Departmental Building on Chapel St. PHOTOS/SOUMYA BHAMIDIPATI

Story by Soumya Bhamidipati

Wairarapa is only 14 covid-19 vaccines behind the Ministry of Health’s schedule, and the region’s first community-based clinic was set to open today.

Wairarapa District Health Board had administered 6946 of the 6960 doses it was scheduled to have administered by June 8, numbers from the Ministry of Health showed.

Of those living in Wairarapa who had received one or more doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 3962 identified as European, 451 as Maori, 137 as Asian, 83 as Pacific, and 34 were classed as other.

Wairarapa DHB’s latest board report showed close to half of these vaccinations had been provided within the past month. As of May 16, only 4103 vaccinations had been administered, meaning 2843 had been provided within the past four weeks.

The region’s covid-19 clinics continued to “run well”, the board paper noted, with a fixed clinic on the hospital site and mobile clinics visiting aged residential care facilities.

The first community-based clinic was also set to open in the Departmental Building on Chapel St.

The paper, presented to the board during its latest monthly meeting, stated the planning for Group 3 was well under way. Group 3 included those aged over 65 years, disabled people, and people with underlying medical conditions

“The planning includes close collaboration with the PHO [primary health organisation] and the medical centres as we prepare to roll out in a managed way. The national booking system is expected to be available at the beginning of June and is critical to our ability to roll the programme out to the larger numbers of people in Group 3.”

The report noted almost half of the DHB’s employee expenses, $91,000 of $187,000, were related to covid-19. Other vaccination programmes, including the influenza vaccine and DHB staff vaccines, had been affected by the covid-19 vaccination rollout, the report said. The flu vaccine programme had commenced in mid-April for those aged over 65.

A different vaccine for those under 65 was rolled out early last month.

“Wairarapa GP [general practice] practices and pharmacies are actively promoting this vaccination to the over 65s to ensure they receive their vaccination before they are eligible for covid,” the report said.

“In May and June, both covid and influenza will be available to a wider group of people at the same time. For those aged over 65 years who do not have a covid vaccination booked, the ministry recommends they receive their influenza vaccination first, followed by dose 1 covid 14 days later, with dose 2 covid a further 21 days after that.

“The delivery of staff vaccinations has been affected by the covid-19 vaccination campaign. There needs to be a four-week gap between the administration of live vaccines and the covid-19 vaccine and two weeks between non-live vaccines and the covid-19 vaccine.”

The report noted that the Ministry of Health had advised DHBs nationwide in April that the focus on MMR [measles, mumps, and rubella] catch-up vaccination for 15-30-year-olds would be reduced until October.

“There is still opportunity for practices to continue to offer opportunistic MMR vaccinations, but the national communications campaign and other promotional activities will be placed on hold,” the report read.

“Our first priority was to be the covid-19 vaccination rollout.”

Council car parks reserved for clinic

Masterton District Council has reserved 32 car parks for those attending the covid-19 vaccination clinic in the Departmental Building.

The public parking spaces next to the building on Chapel St would be reserved until March next year.

If the clinic completed its vaccinations before this time, the council would free the parking for public use.

Mayor Lyn Patterson said the temporary change would allow easier access for people to receive the covid-19 vaccination.

“The community will expect us to support the vaccination programme, and this is an appropriate way for the council to do that.”

Signage was in place to notify drivers of the change.

The move reduced the parking spaces close to Masterton Library to 11, including one accessible park.

“It would be wonderful if more able-bodied and fit people parked further away and left the close library parks for patrons less mobile,” the mayor said.

Further free parking was available on Dixon St and near Farriers at the northern roundabout.


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