Iwi health providers Best Care Whakapai Hauora on Maxwells Line in Palmerston North, along with Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua and Rangitāne o Tāmaki Nui A Rua in Dannevirke have begun offering vaccinations at their offices.
Joining them in Levin this week are Muaūpoko Tribal Authority on Oxford Street and Raukawa Whānau Ora on Bath Street.
MidCentral DHB Nurse Educator Māori Bonnie Matehaere has been vaccinating in Dannevirke and and Palmerston North and said the response has been positive.
“Most people that I’ve spoken to have commented on how easy the vaccination process was for them. Going out to areas like Dannevirke means it’s a simple 40 minute appointment as opposed to a half day trek to a bigger centre. I think our communities appreciate this.”
Vaccinations are currently being offered to those who sit in group 2, which includes frontline health workers and kaumātua and their households.
MidCentral DHB Chief Medical Officer Dr Kelvin Billinghurst said taking the vaccine out to the community is key when it comes to ensuring equitable access.
“We are committed to making sure people and whānau in our rohe have easy access to the vaccine. Our plan involves having vaccines delivered in fixed sites throughout MidCentral, as well as at participating General Practices and Community Pharmacies. But we also have the capacity to stand up mobile sites to ensure barriers to access that many may face are removed.”
Over 6000 people have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the MidCentral DHB rohe since the roll-out began in March. The vaccination programme continues towards the target of vaccinating everyone in the region who wishes to take part.
“The vaccine is free and safe, and we will have enough for everyone who wants it. By getting vaccinated, together we are protecting ourselves, our whānau and our communities.”
A large site in central Palmerston North, located at 38 Fitzherbert Ave, will open today, Monday 10 May. This will add another option for consumers beyond the GP practices, Integrated Health Centres, Community Pharmacies and Iwi and community health providers currently in place, and will be especially important when groups 3 and 4 are offered their vaccination.
Group 3 will include people who are aged over 65 and those with underlying health conditions. Roll-out to this group will commence at the end of May. Vaccination for Group 4, which includes the remainder of the population, will commence from July.
MidCentral DHB remains on target against submitted plans for both targeted numbers and the timeframe for commencing groups 3 and 4.