Residents staying 'predator free' from Covid on Stewart Is

A Rakiura/Stewart Island resident compared the country’s predator free programme with the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara sanctuary guide Ulva Goodwillie was relieved to get vaccinated at the two-day clinic in Stewart Island this week.

She believed the Covid-19 vaccine would help to keep people in her community safe in a similar way to stopping invasive species reaching the bird sanctuary, home to some of New Zealand’s most iconic and endangered species.

“(The vaccine) is to protect you against any invasive predators. Just as we try to keep Ulva Island predator-free, we should be able to do the same for ourselves.”

More than 80% of  Stewart Island’s eligible residents have had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at the New Zealand’s southernmost vaccination clinic.

About 257 people were vaccinated at the two-day clinic which operated on Wednesday and Thursday at the Stewart Island’s community centre and a further 52 people from there had received their vaccination elsewhere.

Awarua Whānau Services clinic lead Nadine Goldsmith was happy with the turnout.

“We’re thrilled that so many people embraced this opportunity to get vaccinated in their own community and we got a lot of positive feedback that residents were very pleased we came to them.”

A second dose clinic would run on the island on August 18 and 19 to ensure residents were fully vaccinated.

However, the staff highlighted people who was not able to get their first dose this time, could get a jab also on this opportunity.

Southern District Health Board Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Incident Controller Hamish Brown congratulated the team and Rakiura/Stewart Island community for the clinic’s success.

“This is a really positive response to the programme and we are very pleased that the local people took the opportunity to protect themselves and each other, particularly as a place that is popular with tourists.”

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