Covid 19 coronavirus: Northland provider decides to vaccinate anyone who wants it

A Northland Māori health provider is going to vaccinate anyone who wants to be protected against Covid-19, even if they don’t meet the criteria.

Northland District Health Board is the worst performing DHB for the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, falling short of its vaccination target by 3760 jabs.

Te Hau Ora Ō Ngāpuhi chief executive Te Ropu Poa said it was hard to turn away people who wanted the vaccine, and if people were refused it would be hard to reach herd immunity.

“People are asking more questions: which group they fit in … when is going to happen and where. And then there’s the frustration that those who do want to be vaccinated, it’s not their turn,” she told Morning Report.

The DHB is also introducing a priority line for kuia and kaumatua, and leaving afternoons free for walk-ins.

“We’ll take those who turn up. If they want to be vaccinated, we will vaccinate.”

She said there was confusion about where to get the second jab and clarified that both doses of the vaccine needed to be taken at the same place.

Northland family doctor Andrew Miller was not surprised that the region was lagging behind in terms of its Covid-19 vaccination target.

Miller told Morning Report the size of the region alone made it a massive undertaking with many challenges.

He said those who wanted the vaccine should be able to get it when they wanted it.

“Once we’ve got our border workers, health workers, and our elderly sorted out then we should be looking at immunising wherever possible, as rapidly as possible across the whole community.”

He said “sequencing” did not work in a community like Northland.

“If we all get immunised as rapidly as possible, we’re all looking after each other.”

Miller said the numbers that showed Northland was lagging in its vaccination programme did not take into account the region’s “rurality … the distances we travel, the deprivation we have up here and just how different it is than other parts of New Zealand”.

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