24 Aug 2021

Surge in Covid-19 vaccinations in East Coast since lockdown

5:49 pm on 24 August 2021

Almost 40 percent of Tairāwhiti residents have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, due to the combined efforts of Māori health providers and district health board Hauora Tairāwhiti.

Kaniwa Kupenga-Tamarama getting her Covid-19 vaccine at a clinic in Tairawhiti Gisborne.

Kaniwa Kupenga-Tamarama getting her Covid-19 vaccine at a clinic in Tairāwhiti Gisborne. Photo: Supplied / Hauora Tairawhiti

Ngāti Porou Hauora, Turanga Health and Hauora Tairāwhiti have been working together to open vaccine clinics around the region. Most have allowed walk-ins, meaning anyone can get a vaccine without needing an appointment.

The 2018 census data states Gisborne population is 47,517. As of Monday, 18,641 have received their first doses and 10,002 had received their second doses.

According to census data there are 25,134 Māori in Gisborne. Twenty-five percent of Māori have had their first doses and 13 percent have had both doses.

There have been no cases of Covid-19 in Tairāwhiti since last year's lockdown, but that doesn't mean the community is ignoring the importance of getting vaccinated.

Vaccine clinics have been open at Te Tini o Porou in Kaiti, the industrial subdivision in Innes St, and rural clinics are operating in Matawai, Te Karaka, Whatatutu and Waihirere.

Tairāwhiti resident and Ngāti Porou descendant Machaela Hale is a hapū māmā, who decided to get her first Covid-19 vaccine today at a Ngāti Porou Hauora run vaccine clinic at Te Tini o Porou in Kaiti, Gisborne.

Hale got the vaccine to protect herself, her baby and everyone around her.

"Myself and my partner share a bubble and decided that it's best choice for us and our whānau with the current Covid situation. I want to protect my baby in any and every way possible," she said.

"Having our iwi not only supporting the vaccination process, but also promoting and providing the vaccine was a big influence for us and made us more comfortable with the idea of vaccinating against Covid-19."

Hauora Tairāwhiti communications advisor for pandemic vaccination Dianne Akurangi said the number of people receiving vaccines in Gisborne has increased over the last week.

Prior to alert level 4, many clinics along the East Coast were offering vaccinations at local marae.

"The beauty about us, our community and all of our clinics and service providers is the ability to change in minutes.

"For example, the Poutama room at the hospital, could have 400 plus booked appointments and if they are getting through the appointments fast, or if they think they can handle more mahi, we open up the clinic to take walk ins as well. All clinics have this flexibility."

"It has been a great response from the community so far. Our best day for vaccinations was the first day we could vaccinate after level 4 started, where we did 1100. Yesterday we did 1019."

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