Southernmost vaccination starts

A Southland woman never thought she would be one of the first people in her family to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Former Gore woman Skyla Mill (19), moved to Stewart Island from Christchurch about six months ago to work in the hospitality sector.

She believed she would still need to wait a few months to be immunised, but was delighted yesterday when she received her first jab at New Zealand’s southernmost Covid-19 vaccine clinic at Stewart Island’s Community Centre.

A crew travelled to the island to carry out the vaccinations, which would finish today.

Ms Mill believed she was one of the youngest at the vaccine centre yesterday and said her family was proud of her for choosing to be vaccinated.

One of the first to receive their Covid-19 vaccination at New Zealand’s southernmost clinic on...
One of the first to receive their Covid-19 vaccination at New Zealand’s southernmost clinic on Stewart Island yesterday was long-time resident Peter Tait. PHOTO: LUISA GIRAO
“I’m a bit nervous but, at the same time, so excited. I have a sister with disabilities so this jab means I can be more comfortable around her when I travel back home,’’ she said.

“Many young people think they don’t need to be vaccinated because they were not in any risk group.

"My parents are proud of me to take this step, to help stop the spread of the virus,” Ms Mill said.

Peter Tait has lived on the island for more than 50 years and was one of the first in line to receive a first dose of vaccine yesterday.

When news broke of a potential case on the island last month, his daughter, who is a doctor, wanted to fly him to Auckland so he could get immunised.

“I’m very happy to have it done.

“From the little I know, most people [on the island] are in favour of it. I heard one that was bit cautious and he was there today. So I hope everyone takes it up.”

He said once he got his second dose he would be much happier.

“At my age, being in a vulnerable group, it is good to feel safe.”

Covid-19 rollout controller Hamish Brown said the expectation was to vaccinate about 400 people during the two-day clinic on Stewart Island.

No booking was required and everyone over the age of 16 was eligible, he said.

“From talking to some of the locals, the vibe in the community is positive.’’

By 5pm yesterday, and with still a couple of hours of the clinic’s day to go, 169 people had been vaccinated.

He said after the vaccinations were done today, the team would return in three weeks to follow up and offer second doses.

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