68% of port staff vaccinated

Bluff-based South Port and Stabicraft Marine were among the winners at the Westpac Southland...
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About 68% of active port workers in Bluff and Port Chalmers have been fully vaccinated, the Ministry of Health says.

The ministry revealed last week that 14 of 21 crew members of the container ship Mattina, which is quarantined in Bluff, tested positive for Covid-19.

The news raised concerns about the vaccine roll-out in the region, especially for port workers.

It also follows concerns about two positive wastewater results last week in New Plymouth.

People in Taranaki are being urged to get tested, as well as anyone who has recently visited and who has symptoms.

The ministry will provide an update on the number of people who have been tested for Covid-19 in Taranaki today.

There were two new Covid-19 cases in managed isolation yesterday, as well as two new historical cases on board the Spanish fishing vessel Playa Zahara.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times, MoH Covid-19 vaccination operations group manager Astrid Koornneef said vaccinating border workers was paramount for the success of the country’s response to the virus.

She said it was unable to provide vaccination data about border workers by specific workplace. However, in the Southern DHB, within which workers for the ports of Bluff and Port Chalmers reside, of the about 208 currently active workers, 142 have been fully vaccinated and six have had one dose only.

"The remainder will be vaccinated before September 30, 2021."

In the South Canterbury DHB area, which includes the port of Timaru, there were currently 61 "active" workers who had been fully vaccinated, and 10 who had received one dose.

A further 50 were expected to receive vaccinations before September 30, 2021, she said.

“Protecting our borders is a top priority ... As part of that, the border workforce, including those who work at our ports, are in the highest priority group to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

"The Ministry of Health has been and continues to work to place an emphasis on increasing the vaccination uptake by those workers."

She highlighted that since May, all workers at managed isolation and managed quarantine facilities and government officials working at airports and ports have been required to be vaccinated under the Covid-19 Public Health Response’s Vaccinations Order.

A few weeks ago, "a much broader range of workers" at airports and ports were included in this order, she said.

"This will add even greater strength to our border protection."

All newly covered government employees have until August 26 to receive their first dose of the vaccine, while privately employed border workers have until September 30.

— additional reporting Karen Pasco.

luisa.girao@odt.co.nz

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