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Banding together . . . Getting ready to help at this week's vaccine clinic are (from left) vaccine administrator Uinita Tapa'atouta, Tumai Ora kaiwhakatere navigator Awhina Akurangi, Tumai Ora whanau navigator Naadia Te Moananui, and Toe (13) and Hana Halalele. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Another vaccination clinic in Oamaru will get under way today to meet the community’s demand.

The two-day clinic, organised by the Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group (OPICG), Tumai Ora and the Waitaki Multicultural Council, was the third held by the groups this year.

OPICG general manager Hana Halalele said after a person who had been at Central Auckland Church tested positive for Covid-19, members of the Pasifika community began contacting the group inquiring about vaccinations.

“It upped the ante, in terms of the sense of urgency,” Mrs Halalele said.

It was similar story for the Maori population.

Tumai Ora kaiwhakatere navigator Awhina Akurangi said representatives from the shearing and dairy sectors had started coming forward asking about vaccinations.

“We have some big workforces that are already booking in their teams to come to this one,” Ms Akurangi said.

The clinic – being held today and tomorrow – had plenty of doses available, but only 50 people would be allowed inside the St Paul’s Church hall at one time, to adhere to social distancing rules.

Mrs Halalele said there would be about five vaccination administers as well as other helpers, but the clinics would work with “skeleton staff” in order to get the maximum amount of people through.

The clinics were supported by WellSouth, the Southern District Health Board, and Oamaru Hospital. Several hospital staff would be helping on the day, Mrs Halalele said.

Waitaki District Health Services chief executive Phil Jamieson “jumped right on board”, Mrs Halalele said.

“It’s really cool. It’s a good opportunity, because we want to do more of this and other vaccination roll outs too, to have that local support.”

Nibbles for those getting vaccinated were offered at previous clinics, and Mrs Halalele said the group was looking at opportunities to continue that, while sticking to Level 2 guidelines.

”It is part of our culture – taking care of our people, and our wellbeing.”

The clinics were another option for the community to get vaccinated, but people interested were encouraged to contact organisers to check availability.

“We really want to vaccinate our community as fast as possible and put us in the best position possible to protect the community.”

Those aged over 12 were also encouraged to attend, as children returned to school yesterday, Mrs Halalele said.

To book a vaccination spot, contact Awhina Akurangi on 27 958-5499, or Mele Huakau on 021 146-7655.

Today’s clinic runs from 11am to 7pm, and tomorrow’s from 10am to 4pm.