A “surge” of people are lining up for Covid-19 vaccinations across the Whanganui, Ruapehu and Rangitīkei districts as vaccination teams prepare to ramp up the rollout with the expected arrival of one million doses in New Zealand this month.
The Whanganui District Health Board has been vaccinating above its targets but as vaccine supplies began to run low, the government asked DHBs to scale back until more shipments arrived.
An emergency shipment of 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived on 5 July.
More than 8100 people in the region are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and more than 10,500 people have had their first doses.
To become fully vaccinated, two doses are required – the second dose is given three weeks after the first.
A total of 18,749 doses have been given to date in the Whanganui region.
The massive vaccination campaign targeting more than 54,000 people across the region is currently focusing on group 3 of the government’s tiered programme – those aged 65 and over, anyone with underlying health conditions or a disability, Māori and Pasifika aged 50 and over, and whānau living with them.
Whanganui District Health Board integrated community impact strategist for Whanganui Steve Carey said bookings were strong at the city’s main vaccination facility, Te Rito, in Victoria Avenue in the former Warehouse Stationery building.
“The WDHB has been doing well in terms of the vaccine rollout. We’ve got good uptake numbers, we’ve got a surge of people that are ready and waiting in terms of having their bookings there.
“We’re mindful of … waiting on vaccines to arrive this month, so there will be lots more available in order to ramp that up.”
Māori health providers are also busy at smaller clinics across the region.
Whanganui provider Te Oranganui is running clinics across the city during the day, at weekends and in the evening, and further afield in smaller centres such as Waverley, Marton and the Whanganui River Road communities.
You do not have to be a Te Oranganui client to book a vaccination at these clinics.
Te Oranganui and the Immunisation Advisory Centre are holding an information session in Rānana next Wednesday, 14 July, at Te Kura o Te Wainui-ā-Rua to ensure people have accurate and up-to-date information about the vaccination programme.
The final stage of the national rollout plan will vaccinate the general population from late July.
Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the News Publishers’ Association and NZ On Air.