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Greater Wellington
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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 xix@whaiora.org.nz.

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

Drive-through clinics geared for Pacific vaccinations

Published Tuesday 31 Aug 2021

Porirua's Pacific community turned up to be vaccinated by the carload at a drive-through clinic in Porirua.

This contributed to seeing the highest number of doses administered to Pacific People in Wellington, with 1107 vaccinations across various sites last week.

This clinic followed the success of the kaupapa Māori Waiwhetū drive-through which began last weekend with 600 doses delivered in the first two days.

Wellington City was next in line, with a drive-through clinic at Sky Stadium in Wellington City opening soon after. The first day on Friday 27 August was for essential workers and their bubbles, while the general public were next to be able to book in.

In Porirua, cars lined up from early morning at the pop-up clinic in North City Plaza Porirua, facilitated by Ora Toa, Pacific health providers, and Whitireia School of Nursing.

The Porirua drive-through clinic finished on 31 August. People can get vaccinated at Ora Toa's clinic at 4 Lydney Place in Porirua.

2DHB Pacific Health director Junior Ulu said the initial focus was on vaccinating Māori, Pacific, and Disabled people. "These minority groups can get lost," he said. "So the DHB has prioritised reaching out to these groups."

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact on Pacific communities in New Zealand. As Pacific people also experience worse health outcomes, this is a worrying time, and so CCDHB's Pacific Health team has doubled down on efforts to make sure families are tested and vaccinated.

The team pivoted from the 'festival days' – mass vaccination events aimed at Pacific People that took place at alert level 1 – to lower-contact events that are safer under alert level 4. It's been able to achieve this by working closely with government departments, inter-agency organisations, church leaders, and crucially with Pacific Health providers.

Drive-through vaccinations across our region – book yours today

Published Friday 27 Aug 2021

Porirua's Pacific community turned up to be vaccinated by the carload at a drive-through clinic in Porirua this week.

This contributed to yesterday seeing the highest number of doses administered to Pacific People in Wellington, with 1107 vaccinations across various sites.

This clinic followed the success of the kaupapa Māori Waiwhetū drive-through which began last weekend with 600 doses delivered in the first two days.

Wellington City is next in line, with a drive-through clinic at Sky Stadium in Wellington city open now. The first day on Friday 27th was for essential workers and their bubbles, while the general public can book in now for appointments from Saturday 28 August.

Bookings for Sky Stadium can be made online at www.BookMyVaccine.nz (enter Pipitea in the location box and select 'Sky Stadium Drive-Thru') or freephone 0800 28 29 26.

In Porirua, Cars lined up from early morning at the pop-up clinic in North City Plaza Porirua, facilitated by Ora Toa, Pacific Health Providers, and Whitireia School of Nursing.

2DHB Pacific Health director Junior Ulu said the initial focus was on vaccinating Māori, Pacific, and Disabled people. “These minority groups can get lost," he said. "So the DHB has prioritised reaching out to these groups today.” The drive-through clinic will continue to operate for several days.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact on Pacific communities in New Zealand. As Pacific people also experience worse health outcomes, this is a worrying time, and so CCDHB’s Pacific Health team has doubled down on efforts to make sure families are tested and vaccinated.

The team has pivoted from the ‘festival days’ – mass vaccination events aimed at Pacific People that took place at alert level 1 – to lower-contact events that are safer under alert level 4. It’s been able to achieve this by working closely with government departments, inter-agency organisations, church leaders, and crucially with Pacific Health providers.

“We are actively working towards organising further drive-through clinics across our region in the coming days,” said 2DHB Chief Executive Fionnagh Dougan.

Drive-through clinic vaccinates 600 in first weekend under lockdown

Published Tuesday 24 Aug 2021

A kaupapa Māori drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic administered 600 doses in the first weekend under lockdown in Lower Hutt.

A kaupapa Māori drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic administered 600 doses in the first weekend under lockdown in Lower Hutt.

Run by Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui, about 30 kaimahi at the Tamaiti Whāngai Covid-19 Vaccination Centre in Lower Hutt administered more than 600 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as part on an ongoing drive-through service on 21 and 22 August.

Staff in PPE, who usually work in the Waiwhetu Sport and Fitness Centre beside Te Whiti Park, are making good use of the site's long driveway and nearby carpark to vaccinate people in vehicles.

Tamaiti Whāngai Covid-19 Vaccination Centre staff in PPE vaccinate people in their vehicles outside their usual building in Waiwhetu.

Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa spokesman Tim Bignall said the rūnanga put its drive-through contingency plan into action so it could keep supporting whānau under the strict social distancing guidelines that came when Level 4 lockdown was announced on 17 August.

"The success comes down to having an outstanding team that all came together," Tim said.

"It’s done for whānau. Our priority is to look after all our community."

The team had actively contacted about 800 people who had their appointments affected by the lockdown to offer them new bookings.

Kaimahi in PPE ready to help protect whānau from COVID-19.

The model was sustainable, Tim said, which meant that what started as 300 doses administered per day had now risen by 20 per cent.

The methods could be used by other clinics around the region moving forward.

Tamaiti Whāngai is an iwi-based philosophy that underpins the programmes delivered by Te Rūnanga. It aims to develop strong whānau using a whole of community approach that embeds the practice of supporting and nurturing children – remembering we are all children – responsible to, and for, each other.

The Tamaiti Whāngai Covid-19 Vaccination will continue to offer its drive-through service under Level 4. People can book a vaccination by calling 0800 123 VAX or emailcovid19@atiawa.com.

Information about seeking a COVID-19 test

Published Saturday 21 Aug 2021

Because of high demand for COVID-19 testing it is important people contact Healthline 0800 611 116 to check if you do need a test.

Because of high demand for COVID-19 testing it is important people contact Healthline 0800 611 116 to check if you do need a test.

Healthline will refer you to your nearest booking centre who can advise you about wait times.

People with bookings will be given priority. In high demand times walk-ins will be asked to go through Healthline for a booking and come back at their allocated time.

We thank you all for your patience. Please continue being kind to one another.

Eastern Bays Pop Up Centre Officially Opened

Published Wednesday 18 Aug 2021

Wellington Mayor, Andy Foster officially opened the Eastern Bays pop up community vaccination centre at the Holy Cross Church Hall, Miramar on Friday 13 August 2021.

Wellington Mayor, Andy Foster officially opened the Eastern Bays pop up community vaccination centre at the Holy Cross Church Hall, Miramar on Friday 13 August 2021.

Before the ribbon was ceremoniously cut, Father Bill Warwick, Parish Priest, blessed the site.

The Eastern Bays pop up vaccination clinic will run on weekends for community vaccinations until mid-December 2021.

Sarah Upston, GM Covid-19 Response for Tū Ora Compass Health says the clinic will help the team to manage additional vaccination volumes in the community.

“This is a great example of health providers and the community coming together to enable vaccinations in safe and trusted places like the Holy Cross Hall.”

Michael Algar, Chief of Staff to Wellington Mayor had his first covid-19 vaccine dose at the clinic, staffed by Peninsula Medical Centre.

Vicky Prebble, Practice Manager at Peninsula Medical Centre says they were motivated to meet the needs for their group 3 and 4 patients and have a bigger vaccination space nearby.

“We plan is to do 10,000 vaccine doses before Christmas. We started Flu Vaccinations in lockdown last year so that we could do large numbers and socially distance everyone. It worked so well we thought we could use the hall for Covid-19 vaccinations.

All our GPs are vaccinating as well as all our nurses and we have a dentist, medical and nurse students, and a retired GP”, says Vicky Prebble.

People eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations can book at Book My Vaccine, selecting Miramar – Holy Cross Church Hall.

Autism Specific Vaccination Event Meets Community Needs

Published Wednesday 18 Aug 2021

An Autism-specific COVID-19 vaccination clinic was held at Autism NZ’s purpose designed building in Petone, Lower Hutt on 14 and 15 August.

An Autism-specific COVID-19 vaccination clinic was held at Autism NZ’s purpose designed building in Petone, Lower Hutt on 14 and 15 August.

The Disability Commissioning team worked with Autism NZ to run the clinic with vaccinators and admin staff provided by Te Awakairangi Health Network.The space features relaxing quiet zones with tents and beanbags, low-lit rooms, a buzzy bee and tactile objects to distract and help people feel more comfortable.

Rachel Noble, GM Disability Commissioning, CCDHB says it was about finding the most suitable way to reach out to the autism community.

“We were fortunate to have suitable facilities available to us. This means the vaccination experience is an accessible and inclusive one. Many people who engage with Autism NZ will be familiar and comfortable with the site. We know and with the advice of Autism NZ, that some people with Autism have high needs and a specialist clinic at the Autism NZ site with their experienced staff would be the most beneficial way for them to be vaccinated.

For some autistic people, having a set-up that is familiar, includes familiar people and is set up in a way that matches the autistic world-view, is important.”

Appointments takes longer than the standard vaccine appointment, to allow each person to feel comfortable in the environment, with only around 50 people vaccinated per day.

Pre event days also allowed people to visit and see the space before the vaccination clinics were open. The clinic will run again in September for clients to have their second dose of the vaccine.

Read more about the event on Stuff/DominonPost

Wheels on fire! Wairarapa’s disability-focused radio

Published Tuesday 17 Aug 2021

Radio show Wheels on Fire is produced and presented by the ubiquitous Matt Wills. This week, Wairarapa DHB’s communication manager, Anna Cardno, enjoyed an hour with Matt talking about all things COVID-19 including how the disability community can be vaccinated and what we can all do to keep ourselves safe and well over winter.

Radio show Wheels on Fire is produced and presented by the ubiquitous Matt Wills.

Matt shares his experience and knowledge to help change attitudes towards people who live with a disability, to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by anyone with a health or disability issue, and to highlight their joys and achievements.

This week, Wairarapa DHB’s communication manager, Anna Cardno, enjoyed an hour with Matt talking about all things COVID-19 including how the disability community can be vaccinated and what we can all do to keep ourselves safe and well over winter.

While the DHB works to serve people with disabilities with vaccination opportunities that best suit them (an information flier and questionnaire has gone out to providers and your input is much appreciated) everyone is of course welcome at any of our vaccination centres. If you need any assistance, just ask one of the friendly team. They are always happy to help.

Wheels on Fire is proudly sponsored by The Norwood Cerebral Palsy Trust and airs from 12pm – 1pm on Thursdays. Repeated on Saturdays at midday.