Vaccine in Stewart Island protects like predator-free initiative

A Stewart Island resident say the country’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out has a lot in common with its predator-free initiative.

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 vaccine would help keep people 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 vaccine at the New Zealand’s southernmost vaccination clinic.

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

Awarua Whanau 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 the 18th and 19th of August to ensure residents were fully vaccinated.

The staff highlighted people who were unable to get their first dose this time could get a jab at the second clinic.

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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