More than 300 people received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Eketāhuna Community Centre on Saturday, 24 July.
MDHB COVID-19 Vaccination Programme Iwi and Māori Lead, Adele Small, said the clinic was successful because it was driven by the community, through the Eketāhuna Health Centre and local kaumātua and kuia, with support from Rangitāne and Ngāti Kahungunu iwi, and MDHB staff.
“We heard from those who attended how important it was to protect themselves and their whānau from COVID-19,” Small said.
“We know it can be hard for those in rural communities to get to central vaccination sites, so this event was about ensuring they had easy access to opportunities to be vaccinated.”
The MDHB team will return to the Eketāhuna Community Centre on August 21 to administer second doses, and first doses for anyone who missed the clinic on Saturday.
Local kaumātua and kuia Warren and Everlyn Chase, who held key roles connecting the MDHB team with the Eketāhuna community, encouraged everyone to get onboard with the upcoming vaccination effort.
“It is important for us to be involved in getting our community vaccinated so that we can be safe and continue to be around for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” Warren said.
“We are really proud that our people took up this opportunity to protect themselves and their whānau from COVID-19, and we look forward to an even bigger turnout on August 21.”
MDHB COVID-19 Vaccination Programme Senior Responsible Officer Debbie Davies said plans were under way to arrange more remote rural vaccination clinics throughout the MDHB rohe.
“We are committed to working with our communities and iwi to provide people and whānau in our remote areas with easy and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine.”