The Southern District celebrated a significant milestone in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout yesterday, surpassing 100,000 doses.
The landmark figure comes as the COVID-19 vaccine programme prepares to ramp up its delivery even further in the coming weeks.
“With larger deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine coming into the country this month we are excited to be ramping up our vaccinations across the district,” Southern DHB COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Incident Controller, Hamish Brown said.
“We currently have over 30 clinics offering the vaccine and anticipate having over 120 at the peak of our rollout to make sure we are reaching everyone in our widespread district.”
Brown said the programme was working closely with general practices and pharmacies so no one would be more than an hour away from a vaccination site.
This accessibility would only increase further in the coming months as more providers joined the programme, he said.
Brown extended his thanks to partners, vaccinators and administrators across the Southern health system who are helping deliver the programme. This includes WellSouth, general practices, community pharmacies, Māori health providers, public health nursing, rural hospitals, aged residential care providers and mental health and disability providers.
The Southern district is currently vaccinating those eligible under Group 3 of the Ministry of Health's sequencing framework which includes everyone in New Zealand aged 65 and over, people with underlying health conditions and people with disabilities.
Those in this group can expect to receive an invitation by the end of July to book their appointment. Invitations are being sent via text, email or letter and include a booking access code and details about how to make an appointment.
People who meet the Ministry of Health’s Group 3 criteria who do not receive an invitation by the end of July should complete the Group 3 webform at www.southernhealth.nz/COVID-19.
“There are more than 100,000 people in this group, so we thank the public for their patience as we work through this large cohort,” Brown said.
“It's also important to remember that once it’s your turn, you can be vaccinated at any time – there’s no cut off.”
The Ministry of Health will begin inviting those in Group 4 to book appointments from July 28 and there will be some overlap between groups.
There will be enough vaccine for everybody, and no-one will miss out. Everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand aged 16 and over will be able to be vaccinated by the end of this year.
Current COVID-19 vaccination clinics and information about the rollout and vaccine are available at www.southernhealth.nz/COVID-19