Tamihere hopes to deter vaccine misinformation as Auckland clinic opens

6:03 pm on 3 May 2021

Anti-vaxxers are being warned not to sabotage the hard work of westies as Auckland's latest mass vaccination clinic opens.

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Photo: RNZ

Te Whānau O Waipareira Trust is running the clinic in Henderson for the city's district health boards (DHB) and it has launched Vax to the Max, a new campaign aimed at combating the misinformation flooding social media.

Te Whānau o Waipareira chief executive John Tamihere said misinformation was everywhere.

"On one level we do not denigrate, we do not demonise or victimise people that are choosing not to vax," he said.

"But under no circumstance are we prepared to allow anti-vaxxers to either disrupt or sabotage those in our communities that are seeking vaccinations."

Vax to the Max would feature elders getting their vaccinations and would run videos showing people the process so they knew what to expect.

It was about counteracting the huge amounts of misinformation online, particularly for vulnerable populations, Tamihere said.

Clinical manager Ngaire Harris said there was always a degree of hesitancy but she was optimistic that would decline as the new clinic got up and running.

"Everything will get familiar and, as we get better messaging and better promotion - and lived experience of people who've already had it - it should be fine," she said

Waipareira whānau and visitors gathered on a clear, chilly dawn to bless the large centre which is in a former Noel Leeming site.

Harris said they would spend the next two days running some imaginary scenarios and a small number of vaccinations before getting fully up and running.

While the clinic had strong a kaupapa Māori element, it was for everyone and will eventually vaccinate 1000 people a day.

Tamaki Makaurau DHBs have revealed more mass clinics due to be up and running in the next couple of weeks - in Albany, Birkenhead, Pukekohe and West Auckland.

Waitematā DHB chief executive Dale Bramley said until now the focus had largely been on South Auckland because of its more at-risk population and a large number of border workers.

"In the city of Auckland we're very much working as a whole city, [we've] prioritised the south because that's been the government's priority and then they'll roll out across the city as our capacity builds up," he said.

The Henderson clinic will be up and running until the end of the year, possibly into the start of 2022, he said.

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