First of hundreds of health workers get first jab

Registered nurse Carmen Johnson administers the first Covid-19 vaccine in Central Otago to...
Registered nurse Carmen Johnson administers the first Covid-19 vaccine in Central Otago to infection-control nurse Iza Haspela at Dunstan Hospital in Clyde yesterday.PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
The first of hundreds of Central Otago health workers received their first Covid-19 vaccination yesterday.

Infection-control nurse Iza Haspela was the first to receive the Pfizer vaccine at Dunstan Hospital and afterwards said she felt good.

Each person given the vaccine was guided through the process by a dedicated nurse, who asked questions and provided health information.

Data was entered into the Covid-19 immunisation register, and people were given a card that gave them the date to return for their second dose of the vaccine, which would be administered a minimum of 21 days after their first shot, Ms Haspela said.

Each person was monitored in an observation area for about 20 minutes after their vaccination.

Adverse reactions were rare but if someone had an allergic reaction an allergy kit was available, Ms Haspela said.

Dunstan Hospital chief executive Dr Kathryn de Luc said at present vaccines were being carried out for group 2 — defined by the Government as high-risk frontline healthcare workers.

The hospital had been supported by Southern District Health Board immunisation co-ordinator Meg Paulin and infection prevention and control specialist Jill Gerken.

The logistics of receiving, storing and administering the vaccine had its challenges, Dr de Luc said.

All 180 Central Otago Health Services staff had been offered bookings to receive the vaccine this week or next week.

"It is a bit of a milestone event not only for the country but also for our staff."

The decision was made to vaccinate all staff because as a smaller organisation everybody at some point could be passing through shared spaces such as the hospital foyer and potentially came in contact with patients, she said.

"It is actually more efficient and effective to actually do everybody."

There had been an enthusiastic response from staff, who signed up as soon as slots were available, she said.

Vaccine rollouts were also progressing at other sites around the region, and had been conducted for residents and staff at Elmslie House and Aspiring Enliven Care Centre in Wanaka , as well as Ripponburn Rest Home in Cromwell.

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