1 Mar 2021

Covid-19 vaccinations at Port of Tauranga begin

7:33 pm on 1 March 2021

Port of Tauranga workers have started receiving their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine today.

Hospital Security person Irene and registered nurse Wendy Thompson deliver the first of the COVID-19 vaccines to the Sulphur Point.

Hospital Security person Irene and registered nurse Wendy Thompson deliver the first of the COVID-19 vaccines to the Sulphur Point. Photo: Supplied / BOPDHB

Auckland workers were the first in the country to get the Pfizer-BioNTech injections at the end of February. In Te Moana a Toi-Bay of Plenty, 28 port workers received the Covid-19 vaccine today.

The nationwide immunisation programme aims to have all the country's 12,000 border and managed isolation and quarantine staff vaccinated first, followed by their household contacts.

Today, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the country was set to be on target for where it expected to be, with about 1500 people vaccinated so far.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board Covid-19 response manager Helen De Vere said the first day had gone well, with significant effort to rollout the immunisation programme, including from the port and its associated companies, the DHB, and Ngāti Ranginui as the principal port testing and vaccination provider.

"I would just like to say how immensely proud I am of everyone involved and to be a part of this team. It has been a huge logistical effort involving a lot of people going above and beyond to get us to where we are now.

"I want to thank everyone for meeting this challenge head-on."

Vaccination teams are set to be on site 11am-4pm Monday to Friday.

Various preparations were done for the rollout in the region, including discussions with Port of Auckland where a rollout was also done, patient walk-throughs and dry runs of other systems, and assembling a large staffing pool.

Port workers and their whānau also had a chance to address any concerns or ask questions in sessions with a panel of clinicians held last week.

Whānau of port workers, and anyone else seeking guidance, have another chance to put their questions to vaccination experts Dr Rawiri Jansen and Dr Nikki Turner in another DHB-organised online webinar on Friday 5 March at 6pm.

Details will be posted on the [www.covid19.bopdhb.govt.nz BOP Health Covid-19 website] and Facebook pages as well as the DHB's online platforms.

In a statement last week, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said further shipments of vaccines could be expected "over the coming weeks".

"By the end of March, we're due to receive a total of about 450,000 doses - enough to vaccinate 225,000 people with a two-dose course."

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