Vaccinations pass 100,000 mark

Cupcakes and balloons were rolled out yesterday as southern medical staff marked the region passing the 100,000 Covid-19 vaccinations mark.

Despite nationwide stocks of the vaccine having been in short supply in recent weeks, the Southern District Health Board region has regularly reported injection rates ahead of the Ministry of Health’s plans.

Hitting six figures, and being 14% ahead of schedule, was due to extraordinary efforts by vaccinators and health administrators from a range of organisations, SDHB vaccine rollout incident controller Hamish Brown said.

"There will be enough vaccine for everybody and no-one will miss out," he said.

"Everyone aged 16 and over will be able to be vaccinated by the end of this year."

The largest delivery received so far of the Pfizer vaccine being used in New Zealand arrived earlier this week, and Mr Brown said with further large deliveries expected the SDHB planned to increase its vaccination rate.

“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.”

Arrival of the fresh stock of vaccine coincided with the southern region starting to send out invitations for people in group 3 to receive their injections.

That group includes people aged over 65, people with underlying health conditions and people with disabilities.

Anyone who did not receive an invitation by the end of July should visit the SDHB website and fill in a vaccine booking form, Mr Brown said.

“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.

“It's also important to remember that once it’s your turn, you can be vaccinated at any time — there’s no cut-off.”

People in group 4 — the rest of the population — are expected to start receiving their vaccination invitations from next Wednesday.

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

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