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DHB working on second phase of vaccine rollout

TEN PERCENT of Tairawhiti's Covid-19 vaccinations are expected to be complete by the end of May, the district health board says.

About 2500 frontline health workers and “at risk” people in the community will be vaccinated during phase two of the rollout due to begin on April 12.

This comes prior to the “peak” of the vaccine rollout in late July, when Hauora Tairawhiti plans to vaccinate more than 1000 people a week.

Hauora Tairawhiti chief executive Jim Green said this would include everyone in Tairawhiti aged 16 and over, regardless of whether they are residents.

“We believe we will need three teams of vaccinators and support people working to achieve that,” he said.

At that time, they expect to have one team vaccinating in Gisborne, along with a team “on the road” in western rural communities and one on the East Coast travelling township-by-township, he said.

Vaccinating rural communities would follow a similar method to testing for Covid-19 last year, Mr Green said.

“We were able to swab virtually everyone in the townships in a couple of weeks and that's what we're thinking we'll be able to do with this,” he said at a district health board meeting on Tuesday.

As of the end of March, 602 vaccine shots had been given to Gisborne border workers and their households, plus some frontline health workers in the hospital, general practices, and non-government organisations had been vaccinated.

Of those, 240 had received both doses and the rest were due to receive the second dose over the next week.

Mr Green said they had 30 vaccinators trained up, but another 20 were potentially needed.

During phase two, Hauora Tairawhiti would vaccinate St John staff, but Mr Green understood Fire and Emergency and Police would be vaccinated through their own organisations.

More than 1000 Hauora Tairawhiti staff would be offered the vaccination during phase two.

Health board chair Kim Ngarimu said they were working with iwi on communication with their communities to reach those who might be hesitant about vaccinations.

The Ministry of Health was also providing funding to boost Maori health providers' ability to work closely with the vaccine rollout.