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Vax team takes the jab on tour

Some of the DHB’s mobile vaccination team. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Story by Soumya Bhamidipati

The Wairarapa health force is taking covid-19 vaccinations beyond the clinic, with mobile outreach units and pop-ups planned around the region.

Wairarapa District Health Board has been exploring methods of making vaccinations more accessible as the government pushes to increase dose numbers.

Pop-up clinics will be held at Martinborough’s Hau Ariki Marae and Martinborough Golf Course today and tomorrow, with further clinics scheduled around the region.

Other pop-up locations planned for this month include Mitre 10 Mega, Mauriceville Community Centre, Clareville Showgrounds, and Makoura College. Rural communities, including Tinui, Castlepoint, Riversdale, and Lake Onoke, could also expect to see temporary clinics in their area.

The DHB was also asking those who found it difficult to leave home or wanted to be vaccinated in a group to book in for a mobile outreach appointment – where vaccinators would travel to the patients.

A DHB spokesperson said no minimum number was needed for a home visit or workplace group, but an email booking was required.

“No minimum as our team will co-ordinate route to accommodate, but groups are welcome.”

The issue of making vaccinations more accessible was raised at the latest DHB board meeting last week when the DHB’s executive leader of planning and performance, Sandra Williams, told the board of the planned pop-up clinics.

A team had visited JNL, one of the region’s major employers, to administer vaccines, she said, while farmers had also responded well to the outreach programme.

“They’re actually really happy to come out and have a vaccination at their front gate, not so happy to find the time and come into town and have their vaccinations,” Williams said.

However, some members had questions about the rollout.

Board chairman Sir Paul Collins asked how information about clinics was being made available to the public.

“There’s no use actually going somewhere and not telling people where we’re going and when we’re going to be there,” he said.

Board member Jill Pettis asked whether the Martinborough Golf Course would attract the DHB’s target population, noting Maori and young people had lower vaccination rates than other groups.

Board member Ronald Karaitiana said it could sometimes be difficult to get buy-in to host a clinic, so the DHB needed to take any opportunities presented.

“We go with the yeses for now.”

Williams agreed, saying multiple approaches were being used simultaneously. As an example, she pointed to the Maori-led Tekau Ma Iwa vaccination clinic and its wider health-focused [hauora] outreach programme.

“If the golf club doesn’t work, we’ll try new stuff.”

  • For more information on Wairarapa’s vaccination programme and to find out where you can get vaccinated, visit www.wairarapa.dhb.org.nz/news-and-publications/covid-19/covid-vaccination/

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