Pacific Island group forging ahead with clinics

The Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group started its Covid-19 vaccination clinics again...
The Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group started its Covid-19 vaccination clinics again yesterday and will host another today. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE
The Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group is continuing to roll out its Covid-19 vaccination clinics this year.

The first clinic started last night, with steady numbers at St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, and would continue today for those needing their first, second or booster doses.

Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group (OPICG) manager Hana Halalele said the clinics, open for bookings and walk-in appointments, provided another opportunity to access the vaccine.

‘‘I think people are really conscious, especially with the Omicron that’s coming in now, that they just want that added protection, that extra layer ... for them and their families,’’ Mrs Halalele said.

As some employers required staff to be vaccinated, it encouraged people to reconsider their options.

‘‘At the same time I think it’s important to be respectful of people’s differences in their opinions and values. Our [job] isn’t really, I guess, to try and change people’s minds but to just provide the access for those people that are needing it.’’

OPICG Covid-19 vaccination navigator Jane Taafaki said Waitaki’s most vulnerable population needed to utilise the clinics.

‘‘Because it really is only a matter of time before something comes down here,’’ Mrs Taafaki said.

She felt reassured from the community’s support the clinics were an asset.

‘‘I think when we first start out we were feeling like we were lone rangers and now it’s become much more of a community effort.’’

The clinics involved OPICG staff, local general practitioners and Oamaru Hospital helped too.

There was a ‘‘back to school’’ theme for these clinics and special spot prizes would be handed out. Mrs Halalele said OPICG was conscious this time of year was expensive for families and providing stationary was another way to serve the community.

-- kayla.hodge@odt.co.nz

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