Get vaccinated, Gloriavale community told

The Christian community's Lake Brunner home has some of the lowest vaccine rates in the country....
The Christian community's Lake Brunner home has some of the lowest vaccine rates in the country. Photo: Greymouth Star
West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O'Connor has delivered a firm and clear message to Gloriavale: all eligible New Zealanders need to get vaccinated to beat Covid-19.

Mr O'Connor was on a whirlwind tour of the Coast on Thursday to try and boost vaccination rates. He visited Gloriavale with staff from the West Coast DHB.

The Christian community's Lake Brunner home has some of the lowest vaccine rates in the country.

The Greymouth Star understands the midwives have been done, but there is reluctance over school staff.

Damien O'connor. Photo: ODT files
Damien O'connor. Photo: ODT files
Teachers and support staff - and even parents on school trips - need to have their first Covid-19 vaccination before November 15.

Government grants of more than $2 million go annually towards running of Gloriavale's school and preschool.

Mr O'Connor said he spoke to them of the need for everyone to get the vaccine - including them.

"They, like a number of people across our community, have some legitimate questions that needed clarification."

He was fortunate to have people from the DHB to answer more technical ones.

Gloriavale was not, he said, applying for an exemption.

Mr O'Connor said he was clear that all communities would be treated the same way and hoped all eligible members would get vaccinated.

He said he pointed out that if they were not done, they may find it increasingly difficult to operate without the wider community.

The Government allows exemptions on medical, not religious, grounds.

Rachel MacKay, the Ministry of Health's director national contracts Covid-19 vaccine and immunisation programme, said workers may be exempt after a "suitably qualified health practitioner considers that the vaccination is clinically contradicted for the person; and a suitably qualified health practitioner provides written confirmation of that assessment".

More information about the guidance and application process will be shared starting next week.


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