Turanga Health Covid-19 nurses and kaiawhina (assistants) noticed a surge in people wanting to be vaccinated yesterday afternoon just hours before the country went into a snap lockdown.
Local iwi health providers Turanga Health and Ngati Porou Hauora, supported by Hauora Tairawhiti and Toitu Tairawhiti Collective, joined forces this week to open whanau vaccination centres around the region.
Appointments were not necessary in the walk-in clinics that were set up in rural areas such as Whatatutu and city venues at Gisborne Hospital, the Palmerston Road Community Vaccination Clinic, Kaiti and Elgin.
Turanga Health chief executive Reweti Ropiha said there was a surge of people wanting to be vaccinated at the Cobham School vaccination centre in Elgin yesterday afternoon.
“It's possible that yesterday afternoon's Ministry of Health announcement that a community case of Covid-19 had been identified was an incentive,” Mr Ropiha said.
Sixteen people were vaccinated at Cobham School on Monday. That rose to 47 between 4pm and 7pm on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister's Alert Level 4 announcement was made just after 6pm.
Covid-19 vaccinations are on hold today and tomorrow with the situation under constant reassessment.
“There is a high level of reaction but the good thing is we have plenty of learnings from the previous lockdowns,” Mr Ropiha said.
“However, after this lockdown, there is a very high chance that we will see greater demand for the vaccine.”
Turanga Health is considered an essential service during the lockdown.
Face-to-face consultations are being kept to a minimum, with video and audio consultations available where required.
The Vanessa Lowndes Centre for people with mental, physical or intellectual disabilities is closed for the next three days.
During the lockdown, Turanga Health has suspended its other health and wellbeing programmes for the week including the Eke Tu wrap-around programme for people with chronic health conditions (Te Karaka, Manutuke and Gisborne), the ki-o-rahi in schools programme and the kaumatua ukelele gathering in Elgin.
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