Home visits help protect vulnerable

Te Runanga o Otakou manager Nadia Wesley-Smith. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Te Runanga o Otakou manager Nadia Wesley-Smith. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Organising nurses to give kaumatua their Covid-19 vaccinations at home was a fantastic way to ensure Otakou’s vulnerable were protected, Te Runanga o Otakou manager Nadia Wesley-Smith said. 
To encourage the community to get vaccinated, two clinics were scheduled to be held at Otakou marae. 
The first, run by Te Kaika and WellSouth, was cancelled due to the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown, so people were sent to the drive-through clinic at the Edgar Centre. 
However, Ms Wesley-Smith knew some residents would struggle travelling into town. 
‘‘For some of the vulnerable in our community, we arranged for some nurses to come down and do home visits, so our kaumatua received their vaccination that way,’’ Ms Wesley-Smith said. 
Having the nurses vaccinate elderly residents in the comfort of their own home not only made it easier for kaumatua but also helped to reduce their anxiety. 
A second successful clinic was held at the marae and about 30 people turned up. 
Most of the community was now fully vaccinated so another clinic was not needed. 
While some members of the community were a little bit hesitant about the vaccine, Te Runanga o Otakou talked about whakapapa. 
‘‘So around the time of the European settlement, we had local villages [with a population] that numbered in the thousands. 
‘‘Of course, they had no immunity to the diseases that were coming in on the settlers’ ships and over the decades the numbers dropped from thousands of people to a couple of hundred.’’ 
There were stories passed down the generations of their tupuna dying. 
‘‘So as a hapu we talk about those stories a lot and how we need to protect our people and the vaccination is the best way that we can do that.’’

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