Vaccinations start for border workers’ families

New Zealand’s first large-scale COVID-19 vaccination clinic has opened in south Auckland today for the rollout’s official start to vaccinate border workers’ household contacts.

‘This newly established vaccination centre has been set up in East Tamaki as we ramp up our immunisation programme for this next phase to vaccinate the estimated 50,000 household contacts of our border and managed isolation and quarantine workforce,’ Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said today.

‘Initially, about 150 people a day will get vaccinated at the clinic, but we plan to rapidly increase these numbers over the coming week.

‘Today, 10 vaccinators have been on site, including some who have been vaccinating border workers in the past few weeks. At this stage, we’re vaccinating people who have been invited to attend the clinic.

‘Two other large-scale vaccination centres will open, one in west Auckland and the other in central Auckland in the coming weeks, where we’ll also initially focus on household contacts of our border and MIQ workers.’

‘Also, we’re partnering with some Māori and Pacific NGOs to set up smaller community-based vaccination clinics in south Auckland to support our rollout to household contacts of border and MIQ workers.’

Air New Zealand employee James Fogasavaii’s parents and sister headed to the vaccination clinic this morning for their first COVID-19 vaccination.

‘I think it’s important for my family itself just to protect them from the COVID that’s happening around the world. I think it’s vital that they do get it and it will be good so that we can be advocates for our community, especially for church, just to spread the word that it is important to get this vaccination done,’ James Fogasavaii said.

‘It’s an extra protection for our family and for our community so it’s good to get the vaccination done.’

James’ sister, Denise Fogasavaii, agreed that it was vital for family members of border workers to also get vaccinated.

‘Level Four was hectic for us because (James) had to isolate separately from our family, especially when we’ve got vulnerable people at home as well. I’ve got my parents, my aunty and my uncle, so it was important for me to actually get it as well.

‘I know a lot of our old people are probably scared of getting the vaccine but getting it today, it doesn’t hurt, and it is important for everybody to get it.’

Their father, Sa Fogasavaii, was grateful for the opportunity to get vaccinated.

‘It’s good for you, guys, everybody, for your life, your kids – if you love your kids, come and do it.’

Another household contact is Aaron Te Moananua, whose partner works at MIQ. He was keen to encourage everyone to get vaccinated.

‘Living with someone who works in the borders and just putting my family in safe arms, just makes me comfortable getting this injection today.

‘If you’re unsure, just talk with people like myself who have got it done before. You don’t know until you get here and like I say, the nurses will make you feel welcomed and feel like there’s nothing to worry about. So yeah, whānau, come along and get the jab.’

Dr Bloomfield said the next stage in the rollout would be vaccinating our approximately 55,000 frontline health workers.

‘Many of them will also get vaccinated at similar dedicated centres that will get set up around New Zealand. From mid-year, the general public will be able to get their vaccinations, including at large-scale vaccination clinics like these.

‘This is another important step in our journey towards rolling out vaccinations to all New Zealanders,’ Dr Bloomfield said.

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