Vaccination clinic aimed at removing barriers

Breaking down the barriers and enabling people to be vaccinated in a familiar environment, were just some of the reasons the Pacific Island Advisory Trust team held a Covid-19 vaccination clinic in Invercargill on Saturday.

The clinic, which included the sounds of the Pasifika, food and giveaways, encouraged families to come together to get vaccinated in a place where they were comfortable and was organised by the trust.

Staff from Queens Park General Practice carried out the vaccinations. About 200 were available.

Trust chairman and former surgeon Dr George Ngaei said there were many reasons why people had not been vaccinated.

"There’s a significant number of people who want to be vaccinated but hadn’t got around to doing it for whatever reason — some of it was work.

"This is an opportunity to deal with them."

He said a small number of Pacific people were reluctant to get the vaccine, including some overstayers.

"The Government push has been that people can get vaccinated without any questions about their status, nor will there be any risk to these people in terms of law."

General practitioner Dr Tabitha Leucker was also on hand to answer any questions from those who were unsure or were hesitant to be vaccinated.

As part of the clinic, referrals could also be made for any children who had not received the MMR immunisation, Mr Ngaei said.

The trust had already overseen the vaccination of 450 people in the community before Saturday.

"We’re very proud about that."

Nobody was really sure of the number of Pacific people living in Southland, he said.

"The official number is about 2500 ... but we believe there’s over 3000."

There would be another three days of Covid-19 whanau vaccinations at the Bowmont St clinic, in partnership with Nga Kete Poumanu Charitable Trust, tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday this week. Transport was available for these clinics.

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