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Eight pharmacies in the Southern district have begun offering on-site Covid-19 vaccinations.
They are the first of 37 pharmacies that will be a part of the Southern district’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.
In Dunedin, Unichem Central Pharmacy Mosgiel, Unichem Knox Pharmacy, Antidote Macandrew, Antidote Meridian and Anderson’s Exchange Pharmacy will be offering appointments from this week.
Five Mile Pharmacy in Queenstown, Bates Pharmacy in Balclutha and Winton Pharmacy are the first rural pharmacies to be offering the vaccine.
Southern DHB Covid-19 vaccine rollout incident controller Hamish Brown said the pharmacies would further boost the more than 30 vaccination sites already operating across Southland and Otago.
Existing providers were also ‘‘significantly ramping up’’ capacity.
The Meridian Vaccination Centre was now available on Saturdays, and more pharmacies and general practices were coming on board in the coming weeks, he said.
Winton Pharmacy pharmacist Maddy Miles said they were ‘‘really excited’’ to start offering the vaccine.
“The response has far exceeded our expectations — we are fully booked for the next four weeks.
“As a rural pharmacy, it is great to have the opportunity to offer this service to our customers.’’
All eight pharmacies are taking bookings in line with the Ministry of Health’s sequencing framework.
Once expanded, the vaccination programme will have about 120 vaccination providers across Otago and Southland.