Vaccinations underway in Bay of Plenty

Port of Tauranga. File photo/SunLive

The Te Moana a Toi vaccination programme kicked off this week, with 28 workers at the Port of Tauranga receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Huge efforts have been put in by Port of Tauranga officials, associated Port companies, principal port testing and vaccination provider Ngati Ranginui and the Bay of Plenty District Health Board.

The taskforce got vaccinations underway on Monday, with teams onsite each day this week.

BOPDHB Covid-19 response manager Helen De Vere says the first day went well.

“It was a very positive first day, with everyone involved appreciating how significant this effort is in keeping our community safe.”

De Vere added that she was proud of all of those involved. “I would just like to say how immensely proud I am of everyone involved and to be a part of this team. It has been a huge logistical effort involving a lot of people going above and beyond to get us to where we are now.

“I want to thank everyone for meeting this challenge head on. Doing so, helped ensure we were in a great position to start the vaccination programme at 11am on Monday, March 1.”

Preparations included site visits to the Port of Auckland to discuss learnings taken from its rollout, testing processes including patient walk-throughs and dry runs of other systems (alongside the Ministry of Health) and ensuring a large staffing pool was assembled. Question and answer sessions with a panel of clinicians were also held for all port workers and their whanau to answer any questions and address concerns.

Covid-19 vaccinations are being made available to border and managed isolation and quarantine workers as a means of added protection against the risk they encounter as part of their workplace duties.

“The broader picture of all of this of course is that we're doing the very best we can to protect our communities from the threat of Covid-19,” added Helen.

The vaccination programme is organised according to a priority system that will eventually progress from frontline and most at risk to vulnerable populations and ultimately the wider community around June-July this year.

BOPDHB organised an online webinar on Friday, to provide an opportunity for whanau of Port workers and anyone else seeking guidance to be able to put their questions to the country’s lead vaccination experts, Dr Rawiri Jansen and Dr Nikki Turner. 

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