South ahead of target for jabs

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Southern health staff have administered thousands more Covid-19 vaccinations than expected, making Otago and Southland one of the best-performing regions in New Zealand.

Latest Ministry of Health figures show almost 12,000 injections have been given in the Southern District Health Board region — a figure 48% higher than the 8114 shots it was planned to have given.

That was a terrific result so far, SDHB Covid-19 vaccine rollout incident controller Hamish Brown said.

"This is a great start to our programme and gives us confidence as we work to scale up further."

Only one of the 20 DHBs, Auckland, has given more Covid-19 injections than Southern — 73,193, just below plan.

The Capital and Coast DHB has given 16,093 shots, followed by "other" sites (13,415), Southern (11,975) and Canterbury (11,241).

Several DHBs are ahead of their vaccination target rates, but the SDHB is 18% ahead of its nearest rivals on that front — a considerable achievement given it is the largest health board region.

Mr Brown said that as well as permanent clinics in Dunedin and Invercargill, short-term clinics had been held in Queenstown, Te Anau, Wanaka and Tapanui.

"A clinic in Alexandra is currently under way, and others are planned for Cromwell, Clyde, Ranfurly, Roxburgh, Gore and Waitaki in the coming weeks."

Border workers such as port staff and their families had been the initial focus of the southern vaccination campaign, followed by frontline health workers.

A week ago, the SDHB vaccinated its first aged-care residents as it began the two-injection programme for people considered most at risk of contracting the disease.

The general population is expected to begin receiving its first vaccinations in July.

The Ministry of Health expectation is that the SDHB will be administering more than 5000 injections a week by mid-May, rising to 7200 weekly injections in June.

The SDHB’s initial vaccination drive had been hampered by the lack of an efficient booking system, but Mr Brown said a new programme had been developed and it would be launched next week.

The board was also recruiting extra staff for its vaccination teams.

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

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