22 Jul 2021

Covid-19 vaccine rollout 'inconsistent' - Wellington chemist

From Checkpoint, 5:21 pm on 22 July 2021

In Wellington, some pharmacies have been told, 'thanks but no thanks', when it comes to helping with the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Pharmacist Ben Latty said it is an inconsistent approach from health officials. His staff have done the training and can manage high volumes, he said.

"We haven't been given any contracts, to the pharmacy itself. We have, from April onwards, been helping out the doctors above us and administering Covid-19 vaccinations… so I've been personally administering jabs, but not via the pharmacy. 

"We've got six vaccinating pharmacists that can do flu jabs and the likes of that," he told Checkpoint.

"For the Covid-19 jab particularly, we've all been trained up via an IMAC [Immunisation Advisory Centre] course on top of that.

"So we've got everything for the ready to go if we get the call up from the DHB, but currently that just doesn't seem to be happening."

He said they have fridges for vaccines. It is now proven the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine does not need extremely cold storage.  

"Now you can keep it in a normal fridge for up to 30 days, so that allows us a big scope to be able to administer these jabs and not have to throw them out."

In a statement Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast DHBs say they have been working alongside pharmacies across the Wellington region on the rollout for several months.

It said pharmacies led the rollout of the vaccination programme across 46 Aged Care Residential facilities in the region.

The DHB is working on establishing vaccination clinics at Unichem in Kilbirnie and a joint centre run by general practices and pharmacy in Porirua.