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Strong Turnout at Do it 4 The East - 2nd Vaccination Event

Published Thursday 2 Dec 2021

A festival atmosphere with stalls, music and local artists contributed to a strong turn-out on Saturday 24 November, with 312 doses administered, at the second "Do It 4 The East Vax Fest "event, targeting Māori and pacific communities, particularly youth, in Waitangirua, Porirua.


Read the RNZ story here

Photo: Patrick Masoe, Tanisaani Pauta, Logovae Grainger (L-R) Patrick and Logovae received their vaccine doses from nurse Tanisaani. Photo: RNZ Pacific

Youth for Youth

Published Monday 22 Nov 2021

As part of our youth campaign and countdown to summer, COVID-19 vaccine information sessions and events are planned across the region, tailored to young people. The aim is to create some urgency with summer coming up and counting down to festivals and summer activities.

Grace Davies, Rangatahi/Youth Engagement Lead for the COVID-19 response, says she is passionate about creating an opportunity for rangatahi to become more engaged in the health sector.

“It’s important for youth to have a voice, to talk to people they can relate to, be able to ask questions and have their vaccine where they feel comfortable.”

We are reaching out to young people via social media, youth organisations and through information sessions at schools or sports clubs, where people can kōrero about the COVID-19 vaccine and have their questions answered. Being able to hear from experts including a Malaghan Institute scientist about COVID-19 and the vaccine has received positive feedback.

“I found the educational information easy to understand and it was more related to me. I could easily ask questions and I found the session very helpful. I was originally unsure but this information helped me to decide to get my vaccine.”
In some schools, we are working closely with school nurses and the Board of Trustees to provide information sessions and vaccination clinics. Around 80 students were recently vaccinated at Mana College, and we will be offering vaccinations at Porirua College this week, where we expect around 80-100 students.

A series of short selfie videos are also being developed with young people talking honestly about their vaccination journey and their reasons for being vaccinated.

Youth champion hard at work

Published Tuesday 26 Oct 2021

Ngapera Parata, 18, is in her final year at Kāpiti College, and didn't believe she needed to be vaccinated until the recent Delta outbreak put the country into lockdown.

It was her older brother who convinced her of the importance of vaccination, and she was now using a similar tactic in her role as a youth champion working with Māori provider Hora Te Pai.

"Telling our young people that they're important and they matter and they do have a voice is really important, because we feel like at times we don't even matter and nobody cares about us.”

Parata found most young people she knew were getting their news from social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, or from word of mouth.

"As much as you'd like to go 'who the heck told you that?' ... at the same time you can't really blame them because there's no one providing the correct information.

"It's a lot of talking and swaying, it does get tiring at times - you feel like you're never going to get this person to change their mind."

Read more about Ngapera in the NZ Herald.

Photo: Ngapera Parata at Whakarongotai Marae in Kāpiti. Credit: NZ Herald/Mark Mitchell

Rainbow-friendly vaccination events

Published Tuesday 26 Oct 2021

The first rainbow-friendly pop-up vaccination event was held on 6 October in Wellington, with a followup event for second doses booked for 24 November.

Rainbow events are specific vaccination days and times with community representatives and support people. Staff are briefed on safe and inclusive language for LGBTIQA+ people.

Michal Salter-Duke, Sex and Gender Diverse Engagement Lead, 2DHB, got his second COVID-19 vaccine dose at this low-sensory pop-up event in Wellington.

“Providing safe and accessible vaccinations for the rainbow community, particularly trans, intersex and non-binary people, is important for upholding everyone's individual right to appropriate healthcare. It's important to the entire country that every person is given the opportunities and supports necessary to get vaccinated, to keep our whole community safe.

"LGBTQIA+ people are more likely than the general population to have had negative healthcare experiences and poorer health outcomes. Providing additional support to get vaccinated is just one small part in addressing these disparities."

Cards are available at all vaccination centres to help people communicate if their name on their medical records is one they no longer use.

Read more on the Stuff Website

The next Rainbow event is 30 October in Lower Hutt. Bookings are preferred, but walk-in appointments are also available. Find out more.

Photo: Kevin Stent/Stuff


Information sessions encourage kōrero for Māori

Published Tuesday 26 Oct 2021

Many people want to kōrero about the COVID-19 vaccine in a safe environment where they can ask questions of clinical experts.

Recent information session evenings held in Wainuiomata and Waiwhetū, Lower Hutt, were tailored to unvaccinated Māori, and provided valuable information that may help people to make their vaccination decision. Key influencers from whānau, who have expressed hesitancy or had questions of a clinical nature, were invited to attend.

Del Carlini, Māori Equity Lead Programme Manager – COVID-19 Response, says initial feedback has been positive and we are now working with public health organisations (PHOs) and sports clubs to run further information sessions.

The session format typically starts with a karakia, followed by facilitated Q&A with a Malaghan Institute scientist, GP and clinical nurse involved with COVID-19 vaccinations. Questions are based on what we understand most people want to know, such as what’s in the vaccine? What happens to it in your body?

Our most effective line of questioning was when we had the Malaghan scientist reveal that she had had COVID-19 herself so she was able to describe what that was like and the long ongoing impacts. It was a compelling story," Del Carlini explains.

"We know that some people who attended the information sessions are now vaccinated and in one case, they have become vocally supportive of vaccination. We just need to do a lot more of these sessions. The information given out is one part of the process, more important is giving people an opportunity to ask questions face to face and to test their thinking. Often their questions are about specific health conditions and the vaccine."

Rugby league clubs have also requested support and an information session is planned for Thursday 28 October for rugby league players and whānau in Waitangirua.

Busting Delta in the Hutt

Published Friday 22 Oct 2021

Super Saturday saw the launch of the Hutt Valley’s first mobile vaccination service, the Delta Buster.

The bus is a collaboration between the Kōkiri Marae Keriana Olsen Trust and Te Awakairangi Health Network PHO in association with Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast DHBs and Metlink. The locations the bus visits over the coming weeks will be determined by suburb data that shows where the highest numbers of unvaccinated Māori and Pacific people reside.

Teresea Olsen, General Kokiri Marae Keriana Olsen Trust said the Delta Buster will help raise the profile of vaccinations with whānau in the Hutt Valley.

“We know that it’s hard for some whānau to get around and make appointments so we want to take the leg work out for them with this mobile based service. Having a uniquely Hutt-styled bus should help give us visibility in the community and encourage more people to get vaccinated.”

Around 130 people were vaccinated on Super Saturday at the Remakery in Lower Hutt, the first of whom was local rugby legend Piri Weepu.

The tohu displayed on the bus represents the past, history, and philosophies that guide and nurture us, as well as the collective ingenuity, focus and determination required to beat COVID-19.

The name ‘Delta Buster’ was gifted by rangatahi Kimihia Tangianau who was raised around the marae and is now working alongside the team at Wainuiomata Marae Clinic.

Find out more about the meaning of the Delta Buster tohu

The tohu on the Delta Buster


He waka taua (war canoe) symbolising our ability to bring to the fore every skill and tool at our disposal to overcome any challenge, any obstacle as a collective force of will.

Taurapa (at the back) symbolising our past, our history, our phylosophies that guide and nuture us (in this life and in the after life). It is a reminder never to forget our culture and the strength it provides all of us and to be guided by that matauranga at all times.

Tauihu (at the front) representing 'the battle', a singular focus that includes all people of this planet regardless of who they are or where they come from (indicated by all the different colours) as well as tika tonu te kōrero (we are all in this together, the ailments that are brought to inflict unwellness and death by Whiro te tipua and his allies do not discriminate) strategy, forward thinking, ingenuity, total focus, and never-give-up mentality. These are qualities required of all of us to overcome COVID-19.


Whakanoa (restore balance)

The pattern is a mirror image and is therefore 'balanced' (like a calm day where you can see the sky’s reflection in the water), showing that all things have their place and time. Any battle requires careful consideration and balance to be restored. In this case, vaccination and coordinated systems of collectively working together is what we are using to restore balance to the world.

Those at the frontline must make sure that they can return home to their whānau at the end of the day, after doing battle or they will suffer the effects of being in a state of constant conflict. Every day when kaimahi finish, they should touch the back of the bus and leave their worries and mahi there for another day, as today becomes the past.

Day in the life of a vaccination clinic team

Published Tuesday 19 Oct 2021

This year has seen primary healthcare providers swing into action to deliver the largest vaccination campaign in history.

When Rachel Dunn joined Primary Health Organisation (PHO) Te Awakairangi Health Network (Te AHN) as a project manager, she didn’t imagine she would be setting up first testing facilities and then vaccination centres. Now she has oversight of two vaccination centres in the Hutt Valley, including a centre set up in May this year in a former Postie Plus on Hutt High Street.

“We had 11 days to turn it into a clinic – get the power on, clean the ventilation systems, and make it fit for purpose,” explains Rachel. “We ran the first clinic for Group two for greater Wellington, so everyone learned from us.”

The clinic runs seven days a week, and can vaccinate up to 800 people daily. Around 25 staff will be needed to operate the clinic on a busy day, working as greeters, administrators, receptionists, clinical and operations leads, and of course vaccinators, who also take turns ‘drawing up’ the vaccine and observing people for any potential side effects.

Working collaboratively with other PHOs and their medical practices, the two DHBs, Māori providers, Pacific providers, and pharmacies, different initiatives have been introduced to make it as easy as possible for people to be vaccinated. “Together, we run a wide variety of different clinics, from Pacific festival days to rainbow community clinics, various disability clinics, drive through clinics, and school holiday clinics offering prizes to teens,” says Rachel.

“We’ve had great feedback from people who’ve come through our clinics. Staff are really accommodating and will do whatever it takes to help someone get vaccinated.”

The best part of her job is “seeing people who are hesitant or worried about getting their vaccinations come in, being immediately looked after and welcomed, and leaving happy – and coming back for their second dose.”

Like other PHOs and community healthcare providers, Te AHN also offers in-home vaccinations and, as the campaign progresses, plans to take mobile clinics into communities where vaccination rates are low. “We’ve found the majority of people who would come to a booked appointment have done so, and now it’s about going out and reaching those who can’t or won’t come to a clinic.”

No place like home

Published Friday 24 Sep 2021

While thousands of Wellingtonians have already come forward to be vaccinated against COVID-19, for a small number of people, getting to one of the many clinics across the region isn’t an option.

A network of four community pharmacy teamswith homecare experience have so far visited just under 50 people who are unable to safely visit a clinic or who are homebound, sometimes due to severe disability.

Bronwen Shepherd, Unichem & Life Pharmacy COVID-19 operations lead for Wellington, says patients have appreciated the opportunity to be vaccinated in their own homes, and their trusted relationships help foster conversations about vaccinations that can help ease any concerns.

“There was one man who received his first vaccination while watching the government’s 1pm update and was thrilled to be part of the vaccination statistics mentioned by Dr Bloomfield. That was pretty special for us. Both patients and the pharmacists have enjoyed the 15-minute post-vaccination tea and biscuit chats, it's a valuable experience in these times to be able to take the time and have conversations to address any questions, and simply to connect with one another.”

A collaborative approach across health sector, including the DHB COVID-19 response team, has created a highly targeted, responsive and personalised service that will help protect the whole community.

Anyone who has difficulty leaving their home safely may be able to be vaccinated at home. Talk to your GP or call 0800 829 935 to check if you are eligible for this service.

Drive-through clinics shift up a gear

Published Friday 24 Sep 2021

A drive-through clinic at Sky Stadium in Wellington city has been working to vaccinate unprecedented numbers of people safely under alert level 4.The first few days prioritised Māori, Pacific and Disabled people, as well as essential workers and their bubbles, following the success of earlier kaupapa Māori drive-through clinic at Waiwhetū.

Vaccinations at Sky Stadium then opened up to the general public last weekend, with whole bubbles able to be vaccinated together.

Clinical nurse coordinator Bee Rutledge leads the clinic, and says the experience has been ‘phenomenal’. “We are able to deliver a very slick service. I’m proud to lead such an awesome, formidable team.”

Two stories of the car park at Sky Stadium have been transformed in to a clinic, with clearly-defined areas the different stages of the process. People in cars entering the clinic are first given information about what to expect from the vaccine. They then proceed to a reception area, where their details are taken. Next is the vaccination, and finally drivers and passengers spend 15 minutes in a post-vaccination observation area.

“The entire process, including observation, can take as little as half an hour for a solo driver, and 45 minutes for a family of four,” says Bee.

Strong interagency relationships led to the success of this clinic. Alongside DHB staff, the New Zealand Defence Force provided ten nurses and medics to help with the roll-out, along with Whitireia Polytechnic students, Wellington Free Ambulance, IMAC, and Tū Ora Compass Health. Other organisations such as Fulton Hogan, Red Badge Security and Interwaste have also been working behind the scenes to help the clinic run smoothly.

Vaccinators have administered about 1000 doses each day, and now more than 50% of the people in our region have now had at least one dose of the vaccine.

“The public have been really patient and supportive. They’re coming here with the intention of playing their part in reducing the impacts of COVID-19 and see being vaccinated as a great way of moving forward,” says Bee.

“We all want to get back to our whānau and normality.”

Iwi-led clinic expands its service to Māori

Published Thursday 9 Sep 2021

Tekau Mā Iwa is a Wairarapa iwi-led vaccination clinic, located at 195-197 Chapel Street, Masterton.

Tekau Mā Iwa is a Wairarapa iwi-led vaccination clinic, located at 195-197 Chapel Street, Masterton.

By nature of its small and welcoming space, Tekau Mā Iwa offers a kaupapa Māori vaccination experience and the opportunity for people to feel their way gently through the vaccination process.

Tekau Mā Iwa has until now been open on Fridays and Saturdays but, from next week, will be opening its doors from Monday through the week as well, to help meet demand.

The clinic team encourages Wairarapa Māori to take the opportunity to find out about the vaccine and reach out if they need support to book their appointment.

Anyone needing more information is welcome to contact the team on 06 370 0818 or

Opening hours and more information is available on the Wairarapa DHB website.