COVID-19 vaccination update

The COVID-19 vaccination rollout has been a hot topic in recent weeks as each district health board (DHB) around New Zealand is responsible for their own area, so exactly how and when people are vaccinated is different between the regions.

Understandably there is a lot of uncertainty around the COVID-19 process so we’ve spoken to a few people in the community to find out about their experiences so far.

Maree Daly from Raglan Rest Home & Hospital was very pleased with the vaccination process and the support she received from her team, community volunteers, Raglan Medical and the Mobile Cold Chain team from the Waikato DHB. 

“It was a great community effort to vaccinate our residents. Both days flowed well and we only had one person out of 70 that had mild side effects.” Said Maree.

Similarly last week’s pop up COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Poihakena Marae was also a great success according to Margaret Dillon who received her first vaccination.

“I received some information about the mobile clinic on Facebook and shared this with all the different community groups I’m involved with to get the word out to whānau and our people. I found it well organised and have booked to get my second shot when the mobile team comes back on July 6.” Said Margaret.

The service was provided by Koiora, a mobile/pop up vaccinating team who are navigating throughout rural communities in the Waikato in partnership with Waikato DHB with the aim of vaccinating people in the 65+ age group, predominantly Māori, their households and their caregivers.  Eligible people can call 0800 660 005 to make an appointment at one of the mobile sites.

Currently, with only 207 of Raglan Medical’s registered patients fully vaccinated to date, the vaccination programme may take a couple of months to complete. 

Raglan Medical intend to run vaccination clinics but are pending accreditation sign off from the DHB before they can start so no firm dates are confirmed to date.

“We would like to be able to vaccinate everybody in the community at Raglan Medical when it opens up to all groups but it’s just not practical as we would have to stop day to day business which is not safe for our patients.”

“When the rollout begins our priority will be to provide the vaccine to our most vulnerable patients first: those aged 60+ or patients with chronic medical conditions. Once that group is vaccinated we can reassess our services to help manage the demand.” Dr Mike Loten explained.

So the big question is, how will the rest of our community get vaccinated once it’s open to all groups? 

Waikato DHB COVID-19 Vaccination programme lead Maree Munro says rolling out the largest vaccination programme in New Zealand’s history will require vaccinating people in groups, starting with those most likely to catch the virus and those most at risk of getting sick.

At present in the Waikato, we are completing vaccinating Groups 1 and 2 which are our key frontline health and border workers, Māori and Pacific people 65 years and older, their households and carers as well as those in long-term residential care.  

Waikato DHB has started vaccinating Group 3 members in June, focussing on some smaller and remote rural communities. Most people in the Waikato who are in Group 3 will receive an invitation to book their COVID-19 vaccination by the end of July. This is similar timing to other parts of the country.

When people receive their invitation for vaccination appointment there will be options for where they can have their vaccination. For people in the Raglan area, there will be a number of different venues for people to receive their vaccinations locally and also in Hamilton.

These venues are in the process of being confirmed and details will be shared once they are ready.