Frontline health workers to get vaccinated next week


Waitaki District Health Services (WDHS) is taking its first steps to roll out out the Covid-19 vaccine.

Chief executive Phil Jamieson said a trial would be held on Tuesday, and frontline health workers would start getting their vaccinations from Wednesday.

“It is anticipated that the rollout to more vulnerable/high need populations (group 2) will follow shortly after this,” Mr Jamieson said.

The rollout would be co-ordinated from Oamaru Hospital.

“By having it in one location we have the capacity [to] store the vaccine, that’s the main … challenge in logistics,” he said.

The vaccine needed to be stored at a specific temperature and required a “cold chain” facility. Those facilities were not readily available in Oamaru, he said.

He said the initial rollout proposal was to have frontline health workers travel to Dunedin, but WDHS wanted everyone to be offered the option to be vaccinated in Oamaru. Some had chosen to travel to Dunedin based on personal choices and circumstances.

There were also plans to establish mobile clinics to deliver the vaccine to rural communities and vulnerable populations such as aged care facilities.

WDHS would review the rollout with Oamaru’s general practitioners before the group 3 rollout.

Mr Jamieson said about 30,000 vaccines would be administered in the Waitaki district.

“It’s not a small exercise,” he said.

“We have worked through what we believe will best suit our community.”