Nelson Marlborough leads the charge in race to get New Zealand vaccinated – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: September 16, 2021 at 5:52 am

In the race to get Kiwis vaccinated the top of the south is leading the charge.

In Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough 78 per cent of the eligible population have had their first dose of the vaccination against Covid-19, while 45 per cent have had their second.

But, while thats the highest of any region in New Zealand, with a national rate of 65 per cent having one and 35 per cent two doses, local health officials arent slowing down.

Now, early bird clinics, targeting workplaces, and taking vaccines to the people on a converted booze bus are among the strategies being adopted to get as many people vaccinated as possible with a particular focus on those aged 12 to 30.

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Braden Fastier/Stuff

Hundreds attended a mass vaccination event at Nelsons Trafalgar Centre in August.

The two-dose Pfizer vaccination is free for everyone aged 12 and over. More than 2.9 million New Zealanders have had their first vaccine and more than 1.5 million their second.

Nelson Marlborough Health chief medical officer Dr Nick Baker said community buy-in had played a big role in the level of vaccination.

Getting vaccinated is the popular choice its the right choice.

The regions success also reflected a group effort, with public health organisations and the District Health Board working successfully together.

That meant the vaccination message was being delivered in the most way effective way possible, he said.

BRADEN FASTIER / STUFF

Tasman Mako rugby team members and staff were vaccinated at their clubrooms in Nelson.

You get to give the message in the way that people understand and the best message giver is someone you already know and trust.

Mori vaccination roll-out co-ordinator Vicki Thorn said being able to work in partnership with PHOs and the DHB meant they were able to offer an approach that was targetted to iwi.

It needed to delivered by Mori with a Mori view.

The aim was to get Mori and their whanau comfortable talking about vaccination, she said.

Just using the good old kumara vine I call it word of mouth.

Having as many options available for vaccination as possible was also vital as it made it harder for people to get too busy to get vaccinated, she said.

DHB chief executive Lexie O-Shea said the combination of a connected team and a very responsive community had helped the region in its vaccination efforts.

Were working at this together and thats whats making the difference.

Baker said the focus going forward was on making it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated.

Walk-in clinics had proved popular, and now they were looking at how they could take vaccination to the people.

Early bird clinics so people could get a vaccination before work would start next week, and other strategies were also being looked at.

Those included more drive-through clinics, workplace clinics, adapting an old police booze bus into a mobile vaccination unit, and talking with schools about having on-site vaccinations.

Because of the staged roll-out older people had excellent rates of vaccination levels, while those in younger age groups were much lower.

Teenagers were more likely to be vaccinated than those aged 19 to 30, likely because theyd tagged along when their parents were vaccinated, Baker said.

Braden Fastier/Stuff

Kaleb Webb, 15, was one of hundreds who attended the mass vaccination event at Nelsons Trafalgar Centre in August.

It was vital that younger people realised they were vulnerable without vaccination, with 66 per cent of cases from the August delta outbreak being in people aged under 30.

Covid is not just something that kills old people.

While Covid would likely be a reality going forward, vaccination offered the greatest protection against serious illness, he said.

Even if the virus does spread in our community, the amount of disease that people experience will still be within the ability of the health system to cope.

Delta in particular was a nasty variant that spread easily but the vaccine gave 98 per cent protection against ending up in the ICU, Baker said.

The known risks of Covid are real and present.

Nelson: 16 Paru Paru Rd (near the Trafalgar Centre)

Monday to Friday: 9am to 7.45pm

Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 5pm

Early bird sessions from 7am: Monday, September 20, Tuesday, September 21, Monday, September 27, Tuesday, September 28

Richmond: 253 Queen St

Monday to Friday: 9am to 7.30pm

Saturday: 9am to 4pm

Sunday: 10am to 4pm

Blenheim: Unit 3, 19 Henry St

Monday to Saturday: 8.30am to 5pm

Endeavour Park, Picton

Wednesday, September 22, 9am 3pm, walk-in

Havelock Town Hall

Thursday, September 23, 9am 3.30pm, walk-in

You can also get vaccinated through GPs and pharmacies through http://www.BookMyVaccine.nz

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Nelson Marlborough leads the charge in race to get New Zealand vaccinated - Stuff.co.nz

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