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Vaccinations resume: Clinic welcomes walk-ins

Masterton’s covid-19 vaccination clinic. PHOTOS/SOUMYA BHAMIDIPATI

Story by Soumya Bhamidipati

Covid-19 vaccinations resumed on Thursday, after the government announced on Tuesday that the rollout would be paused while New Zealand entered lockdown level 4.

The Masterton covid-19 vaccination clinic was accepting walk-ins, with Group 2 and essential business staff prioritised.

Zoey Carlton was pleased to have had her first dose of the vaccine.

Zoey Carlton received her first dose of the vaccine on Thursday.

“It went really well, everyone was really nice,” she said.

Carlton had been a little nervous about getting the vaccine, but said it “barely hurt at all”.

“I’m not a fan of needles but it was fine.”

While the move to level 4 meant some delay to the rollout, Wairarapa District Health Board spokeswoman Anna Cardno said the vaccination clinic was busy on Thursday, with DHB staff contacting healthcare partners and essential businesses to offer vaccination opportunities.

No bookings were available online because the clinic was scheduled to be closed for the nurses’ and midwives strike.

“So there was no appointment slots open on the national system and no staff rostered to work. If you are Group 2/essential and go today for a vaccination – please thank the staff for agreeing to work today. They are doing a great job,” Cardno said on Thursday.

Security guard Douglas Snoodijk.

Clinic security guard, Douglas Snoodijk said his role was to ensure social distancing and that people were wearing their masks, as well as helping them find their way.

“They make sure things are running smoothly in there and I make sure things are running smoothly out here,” Snoodijk said.

“It’s just to help the public, protect, and guide.

“It makes it easier inside and it makes it easier for the people coming and going.”

The clinic was unable to provide its usual post-jab biscuits and tea at level 4, and Snoodijk joked with clinic attendees that they’d have to come back for round two.

“A lot of them are a little bit edgy,” he said.

“It’s easy to just help them out. It’s all about the people.”

The path to the vaccination clinic.

The car park and queue didn’t appear to be as busy as it normally would on a Tuesday, but Snoodijk put this down to the efficiency of the staff upstairs.

“They’re an efficient crew up there and a good crew … all the feedback I’ve had is full easy, thorough experience.”

He advised people not to believe everything they read about the vaccine on the internet.

“At the end of the day, if you want to know anything about the vaccine, come and see the DHB, the people doing it.”

On Sunday, the DHB celebrated administering at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine to 54 per cent of its target vaccination population.

At that point, 30,412 doses had been delivered in Wairarapa, with 11,996 people fully vaccinated, and 6420 partially vaccinated.

While there were 39,940 people aged 16 and over in Wairarapa, the DHB target of 85 per cent vaccination uptake meant it originally expected to vaccinate about 34,000 people.

However, this target increased on Thursday, after the government’s approval of the vaccine for those aged 12-15.

The DHB’s vaccination programme senior lead Sandra Williams said she was “really thrilled” with the progress.

“We see how busy the clinic is, how many bookings are made each week, and how the numbers keep coming through – but it is not until the significance of a figure like 54 per cent jumps out at you that you realise what we are achieving.”

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