Preparations under way for rollout of COVID-19 vaccine
Plans are under way for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine across the Whanganui, Rangitikei and south Ruapehu districts.
A planning and implementation group representing Whanganui Regional Health Network; Whanganui District Health Board; Hauora ā Iwi, the DHB’s iwi partnership body; the National Hauora Coalition; and Māori health service providers has been formed and is working on finalising arrangements.
It will have responsibility for delivering the Pfizer vaccine to almost 55,000 people in the Whanganui district, Rangitikei and south Ruapehu.
The rollout will start around the end of March when members of the vaccination team will be vaccinated along with family members of border and MIQ/MIF workforce living in our district.
Recruitment is under way for additional staff with a focus on trained staff who may have left the health system in the past few years.
The rollout will then follow the government’s tiered structure – frontline healthcare workers and critical workforces (eg police, fire, ambulance), aged residential care workers and residents, and at-risk people in the community, those with underlying conditions and those over 65 years.
The vaccination of the bulk of the population is expected in the second half of 2021.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free and is being made available for everyone in New Zealand aged 16 years and above.
It has been approved for use after meeting stringent international standards and equally robust New Zealand requirements for quality, safety and efficacy.
It is safe and effective and while it is not compulsory for people to be vaccinated, it is strongly encouraged.
It is acknowledged that rural and remote areas of the region will need a specific focus, and discussions are taking place on how to reach outlying areas.
The governance group is working to ensure easy access for all, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable in our community, and on Māori and Pacific populations which are most at risk from the virus.
The COVID-19 vaccination programme is the largest and most intensive vaccination programme undertaken in the Whanganui region, and there will be a strong focus on protecting Māori whānau, with iwi providers playing an important role.
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